A poignant memorial dedicated to the life of popular Rochdale Borough Council librarian Sheila Sfrijan has officially opened.

The heritage, cultural and spiritual centre will provide learning opportunities for thousands of under privileged children in the Romanian north-east town of Varatic.

Scores of dignitaries came together for a special opening ceremony at the centre, which houses a library, community rooms and space for reading and learning.

The project vision came from Sheila’s husband, Dianu, who was inspired to create a lasting legacy for his wife when she sadly passed away in 2015.

The impressive 2-storey design is housed next to the world famous Varatic Monastery, run by nuns from the Romania Orthodox Church.

It is a fitting tribute to Sheila, who was a hugely popular and respected figure, inspiring generations of people with her love of books and passion for learning.

Dianu said: “It was such a beautiful and moving ceremony and I am so proud that the centre has officially opened. The centre represents all the values that Sheila stood for. It was so emotional to see all the hard work come to fruition.

“I would like to thank everyone for their love and support. Sheila’s life lives on through this pioneering project, which will help and support so many young people, and that is something to cherish and behold.”

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for libraries, said: “I am thrilled for Dianu that this magnificent centre has officially opened. It is an environment where people can come together to learn, read and flourish. Sheila was a much loved person at the council and her legacy lives on through this visionary project. It is a perfect tribute to a life well led.”


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