A councillor who "cared more about her community than herself" has died.  

Linda Hawthorn, who represented Upminster ward for the Havering Residents Association for more than 30 years, was known for her charitable work and dedication to local causes.

She died in hospital at the age of 71 on Friday evening (May 19) after battling with cancer.

Cllr Christopher Wilkins, a close colleague and friend who went to visit her earlier that afternoon, said serving people in Upminster was her life.

He said: “Everyone is in absolute shock, we are so upset because it happened so quickly and we were not able to prepare for it.

“Just a month ago I drove her to hospital with her brother – I thought it was just a bad back, but then she collapsed. I thought she’d be back in the chamber with me,” he said.

Cllr Hawthorn was still doing case work and had been at the budget meeting in March, said Cllr Wilkins, but had not been to the council chambers in the lead up to her death.

Cllr Wilkins said his close colleague worked tirelessly for the community and cared more about her council work than herself.

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He said Cllr Hawthorn joined the council in 1990 alongside her mother when she was in her 20s, and in 2022 she amassed the most votes of any Upminster councillor with 3,028 votes.

She supported The Poyntz Charity, which provided almshouses for the elderly in North Ockendon parish, and cared deeply about the climate, having been a big part of environment, leisure and cultural and regeneration committees.

Cllr Wilkins said she was driven by her love for heritage, animals and nature, notably Upminster Park where there is a plaque in memory of her parents.

He said those close to Cllr Hawthorn will discuss the possibility of a plaque in her name alongside her parents.

Council leader Cllr Ray Morgon said: “We are all deeply saddened by this news. I had the pleasure of working with Linda for over two decades on the council.

“I admired her dedication and commitment to the borough and her genuine care and desire to improve the lives of Havering residents.”

Further tributes will be paid at annual council meeting this Wednesday (May 24).