A local Labour party stalwart has announced her sudden resignation to concentrate on the campaign for a statue honouring Wigan’s mining past.
Sheila Ramsdale has stepped down as chair of Wigan Constituency Labour Party (CLP), saying she was finding it increasingly difficult to balance her workload.
She is also chair of Wigan Heritage and Mining Monument (Whamm) which is in the final stages of raising around £100,000 for a memorial to those who worked in the borough’s pits in the town centre.
Whitley resident Sheila had been chairing CLP meetings for around six years and struck up a close working relationship with the town’s MP Lisa Nandy.
She said it was a tough decision to leave her role within the party she has been a member of for four decades and will leave the CLP in the hands of vice-chair and ex-MP Neil Turner until the next AGM.
Sheila said: “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. It’s just a question of time and energy.
“Being chair of the party is quite an onerous position and something had to give.
“I’ve worked really well with my executive team and the MP and we’ve had some really good speakers and events.
“It’s been a tremendous few years and I’m delighted with where the party is under Jeremy Corbyn.”
Sheila says she hopes to become involved again once the statue campaign is over.
During her time as chair the CLP membership almost doubled to around 840.
In her resignation email she quipped that she believed this was due to her efforts but had been told it was more likely to be the effect of leader Jeremy Corbyn and his policies.
She said one of the highlights of her time as CLP chair was an event which brought influential left-wing author and newspaper columnist Owen Jones to Wigan.
Ms Nandy paid tribute to Sheila’s work within her constituency.
She said: “It’s hard to describe what a pleasure it has been to work with Sheila Ramsdale over the last six years and to see the enormous impact she has made on Wigan politics.
“Under her inspirational leadership, Wigan Labour has fought for every vote, brought top politicians, journalists and trade unionists to Wigan and her drive and determination has seen us support credit unions, community groups and foodbanks across the town.
“Sheila has also been a great personal support to me in a busy seven years, fighting three general elections, serving in the shadow cabinet and having a baby just days before the 2015 general election.
“I owe her an enormous personal debt and it will always be a source of pride to me how much we have been able to achieve together.
“ I look forward to continuing to support her as one of the patrons of Whamm as she and the team bring Wigan a long overdue tribute to our mining legacy.”