TRIBUTES have been paid after the sudden death of a leading Tendring district councillor.

Charlie Sambridge, 71, died yesterday after suffering a stroke.

Mr Sambridge, of Burrs Road, Clacton, was taken ill at a meeting of the council’s cabinet at Clacton Town Hall on Wednesday morning.

An ambulance and paramedics were called and he was taken to Colchester General Hospital, but died early yesterday.

The Conservative councillor was part of the current administration, serving as cabinet member for technical and procurement services.

He had been at Tendring Council for six years and represented the Burrsville ward.

Cabinet colleague Giles Watling said Mr Sambridge’s death would be a great loss to the community.

He said: “No matter what side of the political spectrum you come from you have to agree that here was a strong, generous, family man who really cared about his area.

“He worked harder than most to look after his people.”

Mr Sambridge leaves a wife, Pamela, daughter Linda and son-in-law Simon, son Andrew and daughter-in-law Kelly, two grandchildren and a third due to be born next week.

Mrs Sambridge said: “He lived for all his family and his council work – and all those people he served.”

Opposition leader David Lines said: “At a time like this, politics has to take a back seat.

“Our deepest sympathy and best wishes go to Mrs Sambridge and her family at this most difficult time.”

l The impending by-election could see a shift of power on the council. Mr Sambridge was one of 27 Conservatives. They held control of the 60-seat council thanks to the support of three members of the Community Representative Party.

If a Tendring First, Liberal Democrat, Labour or Independent candidate wins the by-election, it is likely the council would return to a Tendring First-led coalition administration. A date has yet to be set for the by-election.