TRIBUTES have been paid to a mum of three and prominent councillor who died suddenly from cancer.

Sarah Candy, 47, spent years representing the public in Tendring and Essex.

She worked tirelessly to help vulnerable children in particular and will be sadly missed.

Husband Neil Stock, chairman of Tendring District Council, paid tribute to his wife.

He said: "Sarah was the most amazing and inspirational person I have ever known.

"We were devoted to each other.

"She was a fantastic mother to our three children, Tabitha, 14, Trinity, 13, and Felix, 11, as well as being the driving force behind our family business.

"We are all simply devastated by her loss and it is impossible to imagine life without her.

"Sarah had been ill for over a year but doctors only managed to diagnose the cancer right at the end and when it was too late to treat."

Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin added: "Sarah was a driving force and an inspiration to many people.

"She was always determined to do what was right, whatever the pressures.

"She carried on when many would have given up.

"Sarah helped transform Tendring District Council for the better.

"But she will be most cruelly missed by her friends and family, both as a truly creative businesswoman, and as a positive friend, but most as a wife and mother of three children.

"This is an untimely loss. My heart goes out to Sarah’s family."

Sarah went to Lawford Primary School, at one time being taught by her mother, and then onto St Mary's School in Colchester.

She trained as an accountant before entering politics and was elected to Essex County Council in 2001 representing Tendring Rural West for 12 years as a Conservative.

She decided not to stand in 2013.

Sarah also represented Lawford from 2003 to 2011, and Manningtree, Mistley, Little Bentley and Tendring, on Tendring District Council from 2011 up until her death.

She held cabinet posts on both councils including as member for children's services where she was responsible for safeguarding the most vulnerable of children.

More recently she became a Little Bromley parish councillor and also served as the parish council clerk up until her death.

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: "Sarah was an extremely capable and competent cabinet member who made considerable improvements to social care and the financial administration of the council.

"Her financial acumen and business experience were clearly obvious and she will be missed by those that knew her."

Sarah died early on Saturday morning.