Tributes have poured in after an ‘inspirational’ councillor who passed away following a long battle with cancer.

Epping Forest District councillor Syd Stavrou, who also served on Waltham Abbey Town Council, has passed away.

In a tweet, Cllr Holly Whitbread paid tribute to her friend: “I am so saddened by this news”, she wrote. “As well as being a friend, Syd was an inspiration to myself and many others who had the privilege of working with her. She was fierce and fiery yet fair and compassionate, and always on top of her brief. She will be greatly missed.”

"We will all greatly miss Syd”, said Epping MP Dame Eleanor Laing. “She was a dedicated public servant who did an enormous amount of good for Waltham Abbey and for the Epping Forest area.

"Having served both the district council and town council in senior positions, with energy and experience for many years, Syd was an invaluable source of wisdom and understanding.

"She was a principled politician and I had the utmost respect for her. Our district will be the poorer without Syd Stavrou."

Over her political career Cllr Stavrou held many of the most senior political positions on EFDC including deputy leader of the council, community wellbeing, finance and housing portfolio holder on the cabinet.

Cllr Chris Whitbread, leader of EFDC, said: “My heart goes out to Syd’s family at this sad time. She had been unwell before but won the first battle with cancer and made a brilliant comeback only for it to return later. Syd fought it all the way, always striving to do her duty for her beloved High Beach and Waltham Abbey and the wider district.

“She was a strong personality and intensely loyal to her friends. As Leader and Deputy, we worked closely for many years. Syd was never afraid to say when she felt I was wrong or there was a better way. I will miss her counsel and the district is a poorer place for her passing.”

The flags outside the council offices in Epping have been lowered as a mark of respect for the district councillor of 18 years.

Cllr Helen Kane, chairman of EFDC and fellow councillor on Waltham Abbey Town Council, said: “It is a very sad time for all of us who worked alongside Syd for many years. Very loyal to her constituents and her friends, although a private person.

“Syd has always been there to help me during my early days as a Town Councillor and later to support me as a cabinet member in EFDC, but I will always remember the fun evenings when we got together. I certainly will miss her and I am finding it very difficult to accept she is no longer with us.”

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