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TRIBUTES have been paid to a key figure who dedicated his life to making the area a better place.

Cyril Hawkins, the chairman of North Weald Bassett Parish Council died last Thursday.

He had been an active member in the North Weald Bassett and Thornwood Common community since taking the role in 2006.

In his time, he welcomed veterans to North Weald Airfield's 100th anniversary, opened memorial park shelters and campaigned for safer roads.

He also took on the committee member role for the North Weald’s branch of the British Legion charity.

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing paid tribute, expressing her "deep sadness" following the announcement.

She said: "I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mr Hawkins who has been a leading light on the parish council in North Weald - which includes the Thornwood Common area, for many years.”

"Many people have already paid tribute to his work in the parish.

“I would like to echo those words and also express my sincere condolences to his wife, Shirley, who is known to many through her work at Epping Forest District Council."

The Union Flag in the Village of North Weald will be flown at half-mast as a sign of respect.