HEARTFELT tributes have flooded in for a councillor who played a “pivotal role in the community.”

Family and friends have paid tribute to Diane Hoy, a Green party councillor for Hullbridge, after she was passed away from breast cancer earlier this month.

Diane was first elected to the council in 2011, and was representing residents alongside her husband, Michael Hoy - a fellow Green party councillor.

They were due to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in two weeks.

Colleagues described her as passionate, hard-working, and someone who “always put others first.”

Mr Hoy said: “As soon as I met her I knew she was the one for me.

“My mum told Diane she was the best thing to ever happen to me.

“People tell you they’re your soulmate but you don’t realise until they’re gone.

“She spoke from the heart, and that’ so important.

“It’s been really difficult, we’re just trying to get on with things. I’m still in shock, we all are.

“Her family meant so much to her.”

Michael and Diane had two children together, aged 16 and 19.

Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, and passed away aged 54, in hospital.

Christine Mason, a fellow councillor at Rochford Council, grew close to Diane over several years.

She said: “Our relationship went beyond politics.

“She was kind, warm, and welcoming. She was always thinking of everyone else.

“It’s been really hard.”

John Mason, who retired as a Rochford councillor two years ago, had known Diane since 2008. He added: “Her and Michael had been on holiday with us to Cyprus. It was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had.

“You get to know someone really well when you sit next to them in the council chamber. We had a really good relationship.

“Her family are a delight. She treated me and Christine as a member of their family. Even when she was ill she was putting people first.”

Mrs Hoy passed away on September 11.