The Director of Children’s Services at Redbridge Council is in hospital with serious injuries following a car crash in Sicily.

An email sent to councillors and officers by the council’s Chief Executive Roger Hampson says that  Pat Reynolds suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries in the crash.

He writes: “Messages of support from Members and officers are flooding in.

“She is a marvellous officer.

“Everybody wishes her well, and her absence creates a large hole in the organisation.”

It is expected that she will be away from work for at least six to eight weeks and possibly longer.

In her absence the council is required by law to appoint an acting Director of Children’s Services.

Mr Hampson writes that it is proposed to appoint John Drew, who last week retired from the Youth Justice Board, as acting Director of Children’s Services until Pat Reynolds' return.

Mr Drew has previously held the post of Director of Social Services,  Director of Adult Social Services and Chief Children and Families Officer at Redbridge Council. He lives in the borough.

It is unclear at this time when the car crash happened or if anybody else was injured in the incident.