Councillor loses brave cancer battle

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former district councillor who has lost a brave battle against cancer.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former district councillor who has lost a brave battle against cancer.

Penny Warburg had twice been given a clean bill of health after suffering from breast cancer, but last year was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Mrs Warburg, who had been a Suffolk Coastal district councillor for Melton and the parish council chairman, died on Sunday aged 52.

However, her bravery and dignity in dealing with the illness has touched hundreds of well-wishers and her family.

Husband Bill Warburg said yesterday: ''She is a real example of suffering that awful disease with dignity.

''She was a very private person and she was amazingly brave and calm about it all. The way she looked at it, was that she had had a wonderful life and although she would have liked to live for another 20 years, if this was to be, this was it.

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''She was a district councillor because she was not really worried about what was going on in the bigger world, she was more concerned about local people and the local community. Her main concern was other people.''

Mrs Warburg, of Melton, had breast cancer six years ago and she was given the all-clear after two years and then five years.

She celebrated the latter milestone with a party but then last year the bone cancer took over her body. She died in St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich, and Mr Warburg said: ''The hospice staff were quite wonderful and I am totally full of praise for the dedication of the staff.

''I have already had 200 letters, which I can hardly read because I cry so much, all talking about her amazing bravery.''

Mrs Warburg lived in Suffolk nearly all her life. A member of Aldeburgh Sailing Club, she also enjoyed painting, fly fishing and other outdoor pursuits and was an Ipswich Town season ticket holder.

She enjoyed being a volunteer with the Homestart scheme in which she would visit young single mothers who needed some help with their lives.

She had a son, Charlie, and daughter, Izzy. Charlie, a student at Newcastle University, said: ''She would go out of her way to do anything for anybody and in the last few days she was still thinking about getting presents for people who looked after her.''

Geof Butterwick, chairman of Melton parish council, said: ''Penny was, as I found from my dealings with her, a quiet lady with a fierce commitment to her community, the environment and 'green' issues.

''She served the people of Melton politically for eight years, from 1999 to 2003 as our sole district councillor. When boundary changes meant an enlarged Melton ward was to be served by two district councillors, she joked that 'it now took two men to do the work of one woman'.

''This was followed by four years as a parish councillor, the last two (2005 to 2007) as chairman. As chairman, Penny guided the parish council through a difficult period of transition, as an increasing number of new councillors brought with them new ideas and suggestions.''

A thanksgiving Service will be held today at 2pm at St Andrew's Church, Melton.