Tributes have been paid to Jane Slowey, former chief executive of the youth charity the Foyer Federation and former vice-chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, who died at the weekend.
Slowey had cancer and her condition had taken a "sudden and aggressive decline" in the past few weeks, according to a statement from the Foyer Federation.
She led the federation for 13 years before retiring in January. She previously spent six years as chief executive of Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and before that had two four-year spells as a Labour councillor at Birmingham City Council.
Slowey was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2009 for services to disadvantaged young people. She also received honorary degrees from Newman University College and Birmingham University.
She chaired the voluntary sector skills body Skills Effect from 2009.
In a statement released today, the Foyer Federation said the news of her death was "quite a shock", especially as she had recently enjoyed a family holiday in Italy.
Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, chief executive of the Foyer Federation, said: "Jane was a true change agent and led the Foyer Federation over a 13-year period with real vigour."
Under her leadership, he said, the organisation had grown in influence and reputation, which had benefited young people.
"Our staff team and board of trustees will dearly miss Jane," he said. "Our thoughts and condolences are with Jane's family at this challenging time."
Slowey served as vice-chair of the NCVO between 2003 and 2008.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "Jane Slowey was an outstanding leader. She believed passionately in social justice and worked tirelessly in the service of others.
"I will sorely miss Jane’s counsel, which she gave as both NCVO’s vice-chair, as a member of our advisory council and as a friend."
He also offered his condolences to her family and friends.