A TRUE ‘stalwart of Mansfield’ who helped women give support during the miners’ strike and campaigned tirelessly for pensioners has died aged 97.
Ida Hackett was the chairman of Notts Women Against Pit Closures and later became an honorary member of the National Union of Mineworkers.
She formed the Mansfield Pensioners’ Action Association (MPAA) in 1986 and fought for better rights for the elderly. She stood down as chairman and secretary in 2003 aged 88.
Ida lived alone in Kelstedge Drive, on the Oak Tree Lane estate and was visited regularly by her son Ian, daughter Ruth and four grandchildren.
She had almost lost her eyesight and was admitted to hospital following a fall on Friday.
Mr Hackett said his mum was suffering with breathing problems and he was at her bedside as she passed away peacefully on Monday.
The 56-year-old, of Mill Street, Mansfield, said: “She had the heart of a lion and spent all her life fighting against the injustices faced by normal working people. She wanted people to have the rights that all human beings should have and not have to struggle through life.
“She was a fantastic mother and gave us the best childhood anyone could ask for. She loved spending time with her grandchildren.”
A private family funeral will take place in a couple of weeks and a public memorial service will be organised later.
Mansfield district councillor Sally Higgins was a close friend. She said: “I had known her since I was a little girl. She was my mentor for a number of years.
“She was one of the inspirations for me to get into politics but was always holding me to account, questioning me and questioning the council. But she was a close friend, not just a colleague.
“Her hard work to make sure elderly people got what they were entitled to will never be forgotten.
“Even as she was getting frail she still had a strong rallying call and could still get a crowd going. She was a real stalwart of Mansfield.”
MP Sir Alan Meale described Ida as ‘irreplaceable’. “She was a lady of real quality,” he said. “A life-long socialist, someone who devoted nearly her whole life to helping others. It was a privilege to know her and she will be sorely missed.”
Ken Hallam (77), who lived opposite Ida in Kelstedge Drive, said: “Some people liked her, some people didn’t but that’s life. She was always friendly to me and before her eyesight got bad she would call from across to the street to me.
During the miners’ strikeIda helped set up numerous groups across the county which helped women support their husbands on the picket lines.
In 2004, Ida told Chad: “Many of the women had never been to a meeting before in their lives and very few had been in a trade union. But they went from demure women into speakers who went all over the country, becoming ambassadors and doing a tremendous job. In a short space of time these women had changed from housewives to leaders.”
Ida was also secretary of the East Midlands Region Pensioners’ Organisation, was on the National Pensioners’ and British Pensioners’ Trades Union National Executive and Finance and General Purposes Committee, and represented Nottinghamshire twice at the Pensioners’ Parliament.
In April 2009 she joined Arthur Scargill at a rally in Hucknall to mark the 25th anniversary of the strikes.