Tributes have been paid to a former councillor and "passionate" academic who died earlier this month.

Paul Rochford, a former Emerson Park councillor, died aged 62 at Brentwood Arches Care Home on August 5, his surviving wife Magda Karoni-Rochford said.

Magda, who lived with Paul for more than 25 years in Gidea Park, said she spoke to her husband at around 5.30pm that day, but by 7pm he was dead.

He had previously suffered a stroke and was severely paralysed but his death was completely unexpected, Magda said.

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Paul had spent a year in hospital then was home for a year, before spending his final two weeks at Brentwood Arches.

"Unfortunately he died one day before he [was meant to] come out," Magda said.

Despite being unable to speak Paul could understand everything, according to his wife.

“He was very passionate about politics and treating people fairly," she said. "He would do his finances, watch the news, he would [even] try to explain the news to me."

They were even able to converse through expressions or single words.

“Me and him could communicate, I could understand from his face expressions, or just one word, because we talk so much.

“Especially during lockdown - we always had big discussions," she added.

Paul, also a PhD student at London School of Economics, represented Emerson Park for the Conservatives from 1998 to 2014.

Michael White, Conservative councillor for Squirrels Heath, said Paul was a fantastic cabinet member when he served as education lead under his leadership.

"Whatever school he would go to he loved meeting the children and talking to the parents about education," he said.

Cllr White added that he spent many happy moments with Paul in The Liberty Bell pub and Ciao Bella restaurant in Romford.

"The guy at Ciao Bella would always bring out the limoncello, that was one of Paul's favourites."

Paul, a former member of research institutes RUSI and IISS, will have his funeral on September 8 at St Edwards Church in Romford.

Council leader Ray Morgon joined the tributes.

“This is very sad news," he said. “I have fond memories of working alongside him as a cabinet colleague."