Union Jack underpants, a megawatt smile and a boundless energy and enthusiasm for life sums up the man the City of Southend has lost forever.

Councillors were united in their admiration for Sir David Amess MP, paying testimony to his sense of humour, his bad handwriting and a propensity to drag unsuspecting councillors on to dodgem cars at Southend Carnivals.

Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh ward said: “Some years ago we used to organise a Christmas party and we always had a theme. One year it was school days.

"On this particular occasion Sir David was late of course and we were in full swing.

"I was the MC dressed as the schoolmistress with mortar board gown and cane looking more like Catherine Tate than Miss Jean Brodie.

“Sir David tried in vain to creep in unobtrusively but I could see him. I rapped my cane on the lectern, called his surname out loudly and berated him for his lateness and I sent him to the corner in shame.

"Off he went and he stood shamefaced and penitent until released from the punishment, a beaming smile and a hearty laugh at his misfortune for being the naughtiest boy in the school.”

Peter Wexham, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh ward also testified to Sir David’s sense of fun and a staunch support for Brexit, describing how on a trip to the EU with a local fisherman to see the fisheries minister they had shared a hotel room.

He said: “They got to their hotel and when he got undressed, his clothes underneath, his socks, everything, were all Union Jacks and he said they were “especially for the EU”.”

Daniel Nelson, Conservative councillor for Southchurch ward described how his nurse wife had been surprised by Sir David bouncing with energy and dressed as Father Christmas.

"He had visited her geriatric ward with presents “for the boys and girls”.

Despite the fond memories councillors spoke of heir profound sadness Sir David did not live to see his ambition for Southend to become a city come to fruition.

Deputy leader, Ron Woodley, said: “Sir David took every opportunity in Parliament to push for Southend to become a city.

"This has been achieved and it will be his legacy to all of us in the City of Southend.

"What happened last Friday is something that is town and the country should never have witnessed and should never witness again.”