We are in a time where everyone is expecting to hear bad news at some point. We’re also in a time where more than ever we need to support each other, to work together and unleash all the skill, creativity, kindness and compassion we can muster. So hearing the news of the sudden passing of Councillor Sue Murphy is a shock and a sad and cruel loss for those she loved and for all of us who were working with her to respond to these strange and anxious times.
Sue has been Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council for a long time and has had the lead on the voluntary sector for many years. That is how I got to know her. It always seemed to me that the reason she was so good in this role was that she wasn’t just interested the voluntary sector as local organisations, she was deeply committed to and involved in the issues which the sector works on: homelessness, equalities, family poverty to name but a few. My last meeting with her only a few days ago was about what the local voluntary sector was seeing and doing in response to the coronavirus crisis. One of the last things she did was support this message for the sector from Manchester City Council and Manchester Health and Care Commissioning.
Over the years, I would meet Sue regularly, sometimes for a catchup and sometimes in more formal settings. We didn’t always agree but we would always laugh. The key was that Sue was genuine. In all the conversations about leadership these days the word ‘authenticity’ comes up a lot – often in a sense of saying how important it is to appear authentic. Sue was genuine and open and she made it look like an easy thing to do.
I’ve seen her get exasperated and angry – but it was sparing and not about people’s mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes or misunderstands things from time to time. What got her angry was always about a lack of compassion. Whether it was policies or decisions or just the ways people treated each other, it was when there was an absence of compassion for our fellow humans, that’s what she couldn’t abide. I liked that. It makes me angry too. Compassion seemed to be Sue’s driving force. Compassion and a determination to act on it. We need more people like that.
I know a lot of people who knew Sue Murphy – and many who knew her better than I did – but tonight what I’ve seen and heard unfailingly from all of them is what a loss this is, not just personally but for Manchester.
Sue did so much for the homeless agenda in Manchester. So shocked and saddened by this. A lovely woman.
Jo Walby, CEO of The Mustard tree
Very sad news. She has been such a big supporter to us. We will all miss her.
Circle Steele, CEO of Wai Yin Society
Really sad news for the City, Sue will always be remembered for her long-standing public service and dedication to our sector.
Atiha Chaudry, Chair of Greater Manchester BME Network
Absolutely gutted to learn that Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, colleague, friend and mentor sadly died today. She was a brilliant leader and a lovely human being.
Paul Martin OBE, CEO of LGBT Foundation
She was truly great and supported so many diverse organisations and courses.
Priscilla Nkwenti CEO of BHA for Equality
Sue was a hardworking, kind and compassionate leader. She will be dearly missed.
Fran Tagoe, CEO of Tree of Life
Very sad to hear this. Sue was the driving force behind Manchester’s Family Poverty Strategy and a big supporter of the Poverty Truth Commission. Such a major loss for Manchester.
Graham Whitham, Director GM Poverty Action
Such sad news. Sue was a really great woman. Principled and strong yet gentle and caring . Manchester is a better place because of Sue.
Michele Scattergood, CEO of Breakthrough UK
We are saddened by the news of the death of Councillor Sue Murphy. Sue has been a positive force for good in Manchester for decades and always championed the people that many chose to overlook. Sue was passionate and committed to involving people in making policy changes. This led to meaningful change that made a real difference to the lives of generations of Mancunians.
Sue was instrumental in setting up Manchester Poverty Truth Commission and we are indebted to her for this. She is part of the fabric of this city and we will miss her greatly. We wish to pass on our thoughts and prayers to her family and all her friends at this very difficult time.
Statement from Manchester Poverty Truth Commission
It is with deep sadness that we are saying goodbye to our much loved and admired chair of trustees, Sue Murphy.
It is impossible to put into words the impact Sue has made to the lives of people across Manchester. Her dedication to social justice was inspiring and clear to see, over many years as chair of MASH, and her tireless work at Manchester City Council leading on the city’s response to rough sleeping and homelessness. Sue wasn’t just a huge part of our organisation, she was integral to the very fabric of it.
As Chair of the Board, she was an inspiring leader that led MASH through years of change and growth. She was a fearless advocate for the most marginalised women in Manchester.
Sue was a one off powerhouse who will be sadly missed by all of us here at MASH. We’re so grateful for her huge contribution over the years.
We will always champion her passion and dedication, and continue her legacy. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Sue’s husband Paul, her family and friends and Manchester City Council colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.
Statement from MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health)
For many of us in the local voluntary sector Sue Murphy wasn't just a colleague or the Deputy Leader at the Council, she was a good friend over many, many years. Like any true friend she would support, encourage and sometimes challenge.
We are thinking especially of our friends at MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health) where she was Chair of the Trustees.
Our thoughts go to her husband Paul and her family and her many friends around the city to which she contributed so much.
Manchester will miss her indeed.
Manchester City Council has opened an online Book of Condolence for those who wish to pay tribute to Councillor Murphy.