MORE than 150 people turned out to pay their respects to Basildon’s deputy council leader Stephen Horgan.

Family, friends and council colleagues packed St Martin’s Church, in St Martin’s Square, Basildon, for the service which was conducted by a Greek Orthodox priest and his assistant.

Mr Horgan, 47, passed away after a nine-year battle with myeloid leukaemia, and he leaves his wife Piera and their two children, Eleanor, 12, and John, ten.

Mourners stood throughout the service, which is traditional in Greek funerals, and it was also conducted in a mix of both Greek and English.

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said after the service: “The service is a testament to how much Stephen was loved and admired in the borough.

“Stephen converted to Greek Orthodox when he and Piera married and it was very important to him. Our hearts go out to the family at this difficult time and I know he would have been so proud of them all.

“I knew Stephen for 20 years and he is going to be terribly missed.”

Mr Horgan was a Conservative ward councillor for Billericay West for 13 years and he was also responsible for regeneration and green issues at the council.

Basildon mayor Mo Larkin added: “It is such a sad day, I knew Stephen for nearly 20 years, he was so young. My heart goes out to his wife and children. He was a lovely man.”

South Essex MPs John Baron, David Amess and Stephen Metcalfe were all present at the funeral.

After the service, Mr Horgan was buried at Brentwood Cemetery and a wake was held at the Basildon Sporting Village, where tributes were paid by family and council colleagues.