A FAMILY has paid tribute to a young woman who was “the best daughter and friend anyone could ask for” after she died suddenly in her sleep.

Maisie Tothill, a passionate Southend United supporter, was 22 when she didn’t wake up at her home in Southend last week.

Ahead of a dedication at this weekend’s game, her mother Nicky Patrick has said her family have been left devastated.

Ms Patrick said: “Maisie was simply the best daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend anyone could wish for.

“She was truly loved by everyone that knew her.

“Her friends and family are devastated by her loss and are struggling to understand what life will be without her.”

Maisie attended Southend High School for Girls and then Billericay School for sixth form.

She graduated with a degree in politics last summer from Leeds University which her mother said she hoped to use to make a positive impact.

She added: “Politics was one of her many passions. She wanted to make a real difference and was involved in research connected to sustainable business.

“But she really wanted to be an investigative journalist, emulating Stacey Dooley, and travel the world highlighting social injustice.”

Maisie was an avid Blues supporter and passionately argued the benefits of supporting your local team.

She played football for Burnham Ramblers and the Leeds University women’s team.

Ms Patrick added: “She and I loved musical theatre and shared an obsession with the musical Hamilton.

“She spent a lot of time looking after her younger cousins who are devastated they have lost ‘their Maisie’. The overwhelming theme of the tributes that have poured in refer to her as beautiful inside and out and the fact she was always smiling.

“We intend that her funeral will be an opportunity to celebrate her short but happy and fulfilled life.

“Words cannot describe how much we will miss her.”

In their game against Bristol Rovers on Saturday, Southend United will be holding a minute’s applause in the 22nd minute of the game.