Colleagues and acquaintances of former Labour councillor Joan Davis have paid tribute after she died at the weekend.
Mrs Davis, who represented Loughton Broadway for 27 years, died as a result of complications from a stroke at 5.20am on Saturday.
She was only the second woman to hold the position of chairman of the district council, and the first non-Conservative, having been elected unanimously by her fellow councillors in May 1994.
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing said: “It was always a pleasure to discuss local matters with Joan and that although we differed considerably in our political views I had every respect for her dedication to the people she represented in Loughton and admiration for the hard work she did for our community over many decades.”
Mrs Davis was a central figure in the creation of Loughton Town Council between 1996 and 2000 as well as a popular district councillor for Loughton Broadway for over 25 years.
Councillor Tony Boyce, the current Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: “I was never privileged to meet Joan in person but I knew of her by reputation.
“My condolences go to her family and friends and everyone who knew her. I am sure she will be sadly missed.”
Many residents knew Mrs Davis from her charity work as she continued to work on behalf of the community throughout her life.
Councillor Stephen Murray knew and worked with Joan for many years. He said: “Joan was a passionate district councillor, passionate about social justice, passionate about getting a fair deal for working people and passionate about representing the Loughton Broadway ward to the best of her ability.”
He continued: “Joan cared deeply for the residents she represented and was always prepared to go the extra mile to help them out.”