TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘force of nature’ former councillor who died at the age of 48 this week.

Mum-of-three Tracey Cheetham represented the Royston ward between 2011 and 2015 and was also the deputy police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire.

Tracey, originally from West Bromwich, resigned from that position in August 2014 in protest against former commissioner Shaun Wright’s initial refusal to step down over the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

She died from cancer on Tuesday and leaves husband Tim, who is a current Royston councillor, 21-year-old Harry, 18-year-old Betty and Freddy, 16.

Author Milly Johnson described Tracey as ‘the sister she never had’ and told the Chronicle that she was adored by anyone who met her.

“Our paths crossed at some form of function where we both happened to be making teas,” said Milly.

“We just took to each other from the off and bonded very quickly.

“We shared laughs, stories and confided in each other. I never had a sister but Tracey came into my life and that’s exactly what she became.

“Although she had had cancer twice before, she never let it define her and was so positive, determined and brave. She became a vegan, meditated and was so informed about the horrible disease.

“Right up to the end she was laughing - Tracey was a force of nature, a beautiful, magnificent lady who never stopped fighting.

“Everyone’s gutted. She loved her three kids and Tim dearly, they all absolutely adored each other.”

Tracey, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and for a second time in 2011, received care at Weston Park in Sheffield and fundraised on multiple occasions for the venue.

Last Saturday she attended Harry and Betty’s joint 21st and 18th birthday party - a thing Milly said she was determined to do despite her deteriorating health.

“That shows exactly how strong she was,” Milly added. “She was such a determined person and at the last Proud of Barnsley awards I didn’t think she’d be able to attend. She did, though, and turned up looking like a goddess.

“That’s how I’ll remember my dear friend: beautiful, clever, strong and kind.”

In a Facebook post, Tim said: “She had no fear and no pain, she was magnificent to the end. I was in the only place I’ve ever wanted to be, by her side.”