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Tribute as Sarah Webb dies

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Bromford executive director Helen Collins has paid tribute to the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), who died a few days after standing down from the role.

Sarah Webb passed away at the weekend, surrounded by her family and close friends, after a period of ill health.

She stepped down as chief executive of the CIH last week, handing over responsibility to interim chief executive Grainia Long.

Helen - president of the CIH - knew Sarah well and described her death as a profound loss. "I can think of no better colleague, no better inspiration and to many of us no better friend," she said. "It has been a privilege to work with Sarah."

Bromford chief executive Mick Kent added "it's a great loss to the housing world, Sarah in her time as CIH Chief Exec made a deep impression on so many people and was a great role model for others to follow. An incredibly hard worker, understated and very little ego - but everyone then listened to what she had to say. I can recall the last two years' closing speeches at the CIH conference at Harrogate - these were probably the best I have heard at a housing conference in 20 years; uplifting, firm but balanced, a combined "offer" and an "ask" of Grant Shapps, recognising you can't just whinge to government, you have to offer them something that is realistic and set in the context of what's possible, Sarah was able to get Grant Shapp's respect and his ear, but without getting his back up. We will miss you Sarah but your legacy will goon."

Ms Webb became chief executive of the institute in January 2008 after four years leading the CIH's policy and practice directorate. She had previously worked at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Birmingham City Council - and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours list last year.