LOCAL NHS Trust chairman and former councillor Brian Strett died at the weekend.

Mr Strett, who served for 24 years on Wigan Council serving the Lowton and Golborne area, became Chairman of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust in 2002 after a year as acting chairman.

He had a wealth of experience in social and health care and was an ardent campaigner for the rights of people with varying types of disability.

Born in 1945 in Cheltenham, he was the son of an officer in the Indian Army. A qualified engineer in the motor industry he changed careers to become a Mental Health Nurse then set-up his own small business.

He had been chairman of Wigan Council's social services and finance committees then became Cabinet Member for the Environment. Other duties included being a director of Manchester Airport and vice-chairman of the Yorkshire Purchasing Consortium plus involvement with many local charities.

Mr Strett had been a non-executive board member of Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust and a member of the Wigan and District Health Authority.

As Chairman of the Trust, Brian was instrumental in leading the organisation through a number of major developments and projects.

Trust vice chairman Les Higgins paid tribute to Mr Strett's dedication: "Brian cared passionately about the National Health Service and in particular about health services in Wigan and Leigh."

Trust chief executive Andrew Foster, said: "On behalf of the Trust I would like to pass on our sincere condolences and sympathy to Brian's family. The Trust Board, staff and volunteers across the whole of the Trust will sadly miss Brian and his commitment to improving the health service in the Wigan Borough. On a personal note, I am very sorry to have lost a long standing colleague and friend."

Lately he had been involved with the development of an infection control information card developed to inform, improve and promote the benefits of good hand hygiene to staff, patients and visitors. This initiative is due to be launched this month with the help of the hospital's Voluntary Services.

MPs Ian McCartney and Andy Burnham paid tribute to his work.

Andy Burnham said he was saddened to hear of Mr Strett's death: "The NHS has lost one of its greatest friends. Brian was a formidable advocate for the people of our Borough and had an outstanding record of public services over many decades.

"He was a loyal Labour man but never afraid to speak his mind as many of us can testify. He was a true friend to the end and his work to improve health and social care in the Borough will not outlive him."

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