TRIBUTES have been paid to a Pershore councillor who was an "inspirational mother" after she died following an illness.

The family of Mervynne Payne described her as a fighter after she lost her battle with cancer last Thursday (January 23) aged 63.

Mrs Payne was known in Pershore as a town councillor, a member of the Pershore Civic Society, Chamber of Commerce and Twinning Association, committee member of the Pershore Plum Fair and town carnival and former owner of the Arcade Bookshop.

"She loved Pershore," said Mrs Payne's husband, Ceri. "She started in the civic society and was chairman for several years. She had a degree in history so that's why she loved it.

"She always wanted to achieve things for the town."

Despite this Mrs Payne hadn't always lived in Pershore being born in Worsley, Greater Manchester, and through her husband's job lived in places including Canada, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Ireland.

During this time the couple had three daughters, Branwen, Bethan and Sian and now they have five grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

Eldest daughter Branwen Bingle said: "She always instilled in us the love of travelling and experiencing other cultures."

Youngest daughter Sian Payne added: "She loved books, they were one of her passions. She kept the libraries in business. She was keen on getting young people into reading as well. We had midnight openings at the book store for the Harry Potter books and lots of authors visited the shop."

But aside from this her family say she will be remembered for her strength.

Bethan Amena, Mrs Payne's second daughter, said: "She was a total fighter and showed immense courage and strength."

Mrs Bingle added: "She always spoke her mind, if something needed to be said, she said it.

"She and our father have made sure we knew we could do what we wanted, she was inspirational as a mother and grandmother."

The funeral and memorial service for Mervynne Payne will be held on Wednesday, January 29, and all donations should be made to the Critical Care Unit at Worcesteshire Royal Hospital where Mrs Payne was cared for.