A VICTIM of domestic abuse has said that her life was saved by women’s refuge founder Jenni Manners, who has died after a long battle with cancer.

Messages of appreciation have been flooding in for Jenni , who died on August 25 at the age of 60 .

Jenni, who ran the Swindon Women’s Refuge, was regarded nationally as an expert on the subject of domestic violence and rape, and helped hundreds of women overcome it.

Christine Cooper, 64, of Penhill , was at the refuge in 1982 and stayed there for 16 months and paid Jenni the highest tribute.

“She has actually saved my life. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be alive. I was a battered wife,” she said. “Jenni was absolutely brilliant. I was frightened to walk from one room to another. She repaired me back up again. She used to take me to her room.”

Jenni first became involved with the voluntary group that set up the refuge as a 24-year-old single mother after suffering abuse during her own marriage.

Tributes have also been paid on the Adver’s website.

‘Llittlesue’ said: “RIP Jenni. 12 years ago I needed the help and support of Jenni and the refuge. Jenni helped me turn my life around, a truly inspirational woman. A sad loss to Swindon.”

‘Moth’ said: “A wonderful, caring lady who helped turn round so many lives.

“It’s a true saying ‘Only the good die young’. RIP Jenni. Thankyou for helping me and my son all those years ago. Blessed Be.”

‘On my soap box’ said: “Such sad news, Jenni helped me so much when I lived in the refuge for a very long time about 24 years ago with my small children who were 18 mths and 3. I am deeply saddened by this tragic news and will be attending her funeral to pay my respects to a truly amazing lady.”

Jenni received an MBE in 2003 in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour List.

Her funeral will be held on September 14 at Kingsdown Crematorium at 1.30pm.

Among the people remembering her life will be former Thamesdown Mayor Doreen Dart , who has helped to raise hundreds of pounds for the Swindon Women’s Refuge with the Marriott Charity Ball.

She also helped to raise funds for the refuge during her time as mayor.

“I have known Jenni for many many years. She is going to be missed terribly,” said Doreen.

“Jenni was absolutely fantastic, she was full of fun and humour.

“I used to visit at Christmas to give little gifts for people who were on the premises. It was always packed full.”

Donations can be made to Swindon Women’s Aid or Prospect Hospice via Co-operative Funeral Care in Highworth .