Essex: Tributes paid to “highly respected” councillor

LONG-STANDING Essex County Councillor Tom Smith-Hughes has died after a long battle with cancer.

Mr Smith-Hughes was leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group and Member for Chelmsford North for the County Council. He had been a member for 27 years.

Tributes have been paid by friends and colleagues after he passed away on Wednesday.

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Mike Mackrory said: “We are devastated by this news. Tom was a pillar of strength to the Essex Liberal Democrats and indeed the whole community in Chelmsford.

“His great strength was his mastery of local government finance. He was highly respected by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts are with Jill and the family at this deeply sad time.”

Leader of Essex County Council, Peter Martin, said: “He was a real gentleman and everybody at County Hall – on all political sides – held him in the highest regard. Despite our political differences, I regarded him as a friend. He will be sorely missed.”