NEWS that the former council chief executive Carole Hudson has died suddenly has been greeted with shock and sadness by many.

The tributes that have flowed are evidence of the high esteem she was held in and the great champion she was for St Helens.

Tough, resilient, warm, compassionate and wise. Just some of the words colleagues have used to describe her.

She was a great servant to the borough and will be much missed.

Carole Hudson meeting Princess Anne

Claire Rigby has done a tremendous job setting up Momo’s community cafe over the past year and is widely admired for the work she has done to support parents, societies and vulnerable children.

These efforts culminated in her nomination for the Pride of St Helens unsung hero and she was delighted to be highly commended.

Less than a week later it was sad to read that problems with repeated flooding at her venue on Cotham Street have put a question mark over the venue’s future (see page 3).

If the vision for St Helens town centre rests on the growth of independent business then a valued community asset like Momo’s should not be allowed to disappear.

It’s good to see Star readers and social media campaigners uniting to raise funds.

But, ahead of Christmas, it would be great to see experts in development and landlords step in to find a solution.

St Helens has faced plenty of challenges over the last decade, which has witnessed a dramatic squeeze in public finances.

The Star has stressed repeatedly the desperate impact the government’s austerity policies have had here.

Now a UN report on extreme poverty in the UK has spelled out the damage austerity is causing.

Stripping £90m from the local authority budget since 2010 and the cuts to welfare, policing, education and many other areas has hurt.

It is hard to deny the views of the report’s author Philip Alston, who says austerity has caused misery to poor families across the UK, is true here.