A former Barking and Dagenham mayoress who loved dancing and gardening has passed away in Upminster aged 100.

Kate Tibble, known as Kit, held the prestigious position in 1976 when husband Fred was appointed mayor of Barking and Dagenham.

Her work within the voluntary sector for over 30 years was recognised with a dinner in her honour by Barking and Dagenham Council in 1999 when she was given the Sydney Russell Memorial Award.

Son John Tibble said his mother had been delighted to celebrate her 100th birthday earlier this year, sharing the milestone with family and friends.

He told the Recorder: “She was so proud to have reached that age, especially as she was so healthy and with it.

“She was a wonderful mother and great friend, and everyone who knew her said how kind she was.”

His wife Janet added: “She was such a caring woman who always put others first, and was a brilliant mother-in-law and grandma to our girls.”

Kate Dorothy Vinicombe was born in Bromley-by-Bow on June 16, 1921, and aged 18 she joined the war effort making munitions in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

She met Fred Tibble at Dagenham's Ford Motor Company, and the couple married in 1947.

They had a long and happy 57-year marriage, sharing sons John and David, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Both Fred and Kit were stalwarts within the local community, and Fred served as a Labour councillor on Barking and Dagenham Council and chairman of social services for 45 years.

John said: “She was working full-time, but would be at every function in her capacity as mayoress, and was always supportive of my father.

“She was a very sociable woman her whole life, and took everything in her stride.”

After Fred's death in 2004, Kit continued to live in the family home in Dagenham. She loved her garden and the Green Shoots Gardening Club, with which she had many happy outings.

John said: “Aged 70, after a long day out with the club, she would hop off the bus and dash to a dance in the evening.

“She had huge enthusiasm for life.”

Just over six years ago, she moved into Meadowbanks Care Home in Upminster, where she got a new lease of life, making new friends and joining in all the activities.

“The staff all said how easy she was to look after, and she was so popular and would take new residents under her wing,” Janet said.