TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a midwife who died unexpectedly after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Debra Saund, 60, from Tankerville Drive, Leigh, was a dedicated midwife who had worked for decades in the field as a community midwife in Westcliff and Leigh as well as at Southend and Basildon hospitals.

The beloved midwife passed away on September 5 after suffering a brain aneurysm at work.

Her colleague, Kim Mason, who worked closely with Debra for more than 20 years, said: “Deb loved life and lived it to the full.

“To me she was simply the best, a knowledgeable, respected colleague, with the kindest of hearts and a dear friend - such a loss to all who came in contact with her.

“Living and working in the same area gave her a degree of fame, so many people will share the pain of her passing.

“She was a truly committed midwife, believing passionately in supporting women and their families throughout the journey of pregnancy, birth and the early days of new parenthood.

“As a work partnership, she and I enjoyed a shared philosophy and together, embraced the challenges of providing the best possible midwifery care to ladies and their families.

“We were so aware of how blessed we were to be able to work in such a particular way and both have such supportive, understanding partners.”

Debra was also active and loved sport - even completing the Lands End to John O’Groats.

She was a regular tennis player, as well as a keen runner, swimmer and cyclist.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, which she beat, Debra became an avid fundraiser for breast cancer charities..

Kim added: “Deb will be so missed by so many and our thoughts are with her dear husband Paul, and her family.”

Debra’s funeral will take place on Monday.

People wanting to pay their respects are asked to line the funeral route along Blenheim Chase and the funeral will be streamed online.

As the cortege leaves Debra’s home, her many tennis friends will pay their respects by lining Bonchurch Avenue.

While her work colleagues will line outside Southend Hospital as the funeral procession passes on the way to Southend Crematorium for the 10.40am service.