A COUNCILLOR who tirelessly served the residents of Wivenhoe for the last decade has died after a long battle with cancer.

Steve Ford, 63, passed away at home on Friday night after the cancer which had been in remission returned.

He leaves behind wife Maria, and children Nikolai, who is in his 20s, and teenager Lizzie.

Tim Young, group leader of Colchester Council's Labour group, said family, friends and colleagues had been left devastated.

He said: "His family meant the world to him and his devotion to Maria and his children shone through whenever you met him.

"I can't believe that I will never see Steve again or pick up the phone to him because I valued his opinion and advice so much and I know that is shared by a huge number of his colleagues. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

Originally from London, Steve graduated from Essex University and taught at several north Essex schools, most recently Clacton Coastal Academy.

He joined Colchester Council in April 2004, winning a by-election for Wivenhoe Quay ward by 11 votes. Steve retained the seat three years with a majority of just two, but increased this number to 706 in 2011.

A committed ward councillor and member of Wivenhoe Town Council, his proudest achievement was his year as Wivenhoe's Mayor.

Steve's attachment to environmental causes led him to move a motion for Colchester Council to sign the Nottingham Declaration commitment to tackle climate change.