A former long-serving member of Epping Forest District Council has died.

Philip Pennell who served as a Labour district councillor representing the Waltham Abbey West ward of the district from 1990 to 2002, passed away on Thursday, August 1, aged of 89.

He was also the leader of the Labour Group on the Council between 1994 and 1999.

The 89-year-old's wife Marion had passed away several years ago, leaving behind their son Ian, daughter Sally and granddaughter Rosie.

Loughton Town and district councillor, Stephen Murray, paid tribute to his former colleague.

He said: "I was privileged to have worked with Philip for all of his 12 years on the district council, he was an excellent colleague, with an astute understanding of his local community and the issues it was facing".

"He was a first class socialist and a wonderful leader of our group who always brought his scientific training to the fore when putting forward a well-researched argument, he was simply a wonderful colleague, nothing was ever to much trouble."

Aside from his political career, Mr Pennell was also a former electrical engineer, lecturer and regular volunteer at the Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey.

During his term of office, former Councillor Pennell served on various committees, sub-committees and working groups, including the Policy and Co-ordinating Committee and the Resources Committee.

He was also part of the Housing Committee, Libraries, Arts and Museums Sub-Committee, the Council Strategy Working Group, and the Lea Valley Nursery Working Group.

The former Labour councillor was also known for being a representative on the Waltham Abbey Citizen Advice Bureau and the National Explosive Museum.

Mayor of Waltham Abbey Town Council, Cllr Antony Watts, also paid tribute to Mr Pennell, saying: "I had the privilege to know Philip as a fellow Waltham Abbey District Councillor for a number of years and we kept in touch after we had both left Epping Forest District Council.

"We rarely agreed on the means by which issues were to be dealt with, but always both agreed on the ends - the best interests of Waltham Abbey.

"Philip was always a man of high principles who served the community quietly but effectively.

"I always listened to his views and opinions, especially where they differed from my own, as I knew they were founded on the best of intentions.

"He especially championed the under privileged and those less able to speak for themselves, in the most persuasive manner. I for one will miss him."

The funeral will be held on Tuesday, August 27 at 1.30 pm at the Abbey Church, Waltham Abbey. All are welcome.