Because of her influence in the Labour movement Ida was recruited as a sales rep for Soviet Weekly.
Her keen political understanding was vital in combating the pernicious anti-Sovietism of the cold-war years.
Ida rose to leadership of all the activities she did. She was awarded honorary membership of the NUM for her work in 1984/5 where she played a leading role in the Women Against Pit Closures.
Not only did she get groups set up in colliery villages throughout Nottinghamshire in support of the brave lads who stayed loyal to the NUM, she brought huge solidarity, personal support and organisational flair to the strikers. In 2009, aged 94, she joined Arthur Scargill to mark the 25th anniversary of the strikes at a rally in Hucknall.
While still organising for the sacked miners, Ida founded the Mansfield Pensioners.
Her interests, her loyalties and her energy knew no bounds and every progressive cause got her support - many of them the result of Ida's own initiative, such as the celebration of Mansfield volunteers who fought and died in defence of the Spanish republican government against Franco's fascists, pressing the local council and the MP to commit themselves to a host of people-first policies.
Ida stood for the local council and for Parliament. Never elected, her votes were significant and a tribute to the respect she was held in - in fact, constituents didn't go to their elected councillor - they went to Ida who got things done. Truly, a tribune of the people.
Throughout, Ida saw the Daily Worker, now the Morning Star, as the guide and mobiliser of the movement and the paper featured in all her campaigns.
Mansfield's newspaper Chad carried tributes to Ida. Alan Meale, Mansfield's long-standing MP described Ida as "irreplaceable," "...a lady of real quality, a life-long socialist, someone who devoted nearly her whole life to helping others. It was a privilege to know her."
Mansfield district councillor Sally Higgins wrote: "She was one of the inspirations for me to get into politics but was always holding me to account, questioning me and questioning the council. But she was a close friend, not just a colleague."
Ida's son Ian said: "She had the heart of a lion and spent all her life fighting against the injustices faced by normal working people. She wanted people to have the rights that all human beings should have and not have to struggle through life. She was a fantastic mother and gave us the best childhood anyone could ask for. She loved spending time with her grandchildren."
An active Communist, Ida served on the national executive in the 1960s and '70s, and, with her husband Ernest, himself a prominent trade unionist, and Fred Westacott, was part of a unique partnership in the political leadership of the East Midlands.
With such a pedigree one could misconceive Ida as a battleaxe. Far from it. Yes, when the council was less than helpful in providing suitable committee rooms for election meetings her boldness cut through the prevarications and secured premises that were the envy of the other parties.
Ida was always a family woman - children, grandchildren and great grandchildren - she and Ernest built a constructive, equal and loving partnership which ended only with Ernest's early death in 1985.
She dressed immaculately - blue rinse even - her house was as smart as she. You'd never know it was the hub of so much activity!
Ida and Ernest loved opera and, to the end, Ida was a sponsor of the famous Mansfield youth choir Cantamus.
She respected people - visitors found she knew the names and activities of all their relatives and she had to be brought up to date on them all. But it wasn't only the personal matters - Ida wanted to know what the trades council was doing, what was happening in the Notts and Derbys Labour History Society and much more.
Miner's daughter, building worker's partner and wife, leader of men and of women, Ida never departed from her class roots, her Marxist philosophy or her Communist convictions.
Ida was a stalwart of our movement and many of us owe our understanding to her generation, of which she was such a significant member. She was also a delight to know, a great friend.
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