A HOST of tributes have been paid to a top politician who has lost a cancer battle.

Tom Smith-Hughes, was leader of the Liberal Democrats group on Essex County Council and a councillor for Chelmsford North.

He died yesterday, April 18.

Mr Smith-Hughes was a long serving Chelmsford counicllor as well as member of Essex Fire Authority and a school governor.

Mike Mackrory, deputy Liberal Democrats leader at Essex County Council, said: "We are devastated by this news.

"Tom was a pillar of strength to the Essex Liberal Democrats and indeed the whole community in Chelmsford.

"His great strength was his mastery of local government finance.

"He was highly respected by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts are with Jill (his wife) and the family at this deeply sad time."

See the Weekly News next week for more tributes.