It was with great sadness that we learned this week of the death of our friend and colleague Councillor Stuart Hawkins.
Stuart was a Conservative Councillor for Walton South since 2008 and served his constituents and Elmbridge Borough Council with distinction, including as Chairman of the North Area Planning Sub Committee and Vice Chairman of the full Planning Committee.
He passed away at the Princess Alice Hospice with his wife Christine and his children Alex, Matthew, Hannah and Lawrence by his side, as well as his sister.
Councillor John O'Reilly, Leader of the Council paid tribute to Stuart as an "outstanding friend and colleague" who was "universally loved admired and respected" across the council chamber and in the community he served.
John said: “We were desperately saddened by the news of Stuart's passing. He was quite simply an exceptional man, among the kindest, warm-hearted and most decent colleague and friend that I have ever had the privilege to know. He was totally devoted to his community and actively involved with it at so many levels.
"He possessed the utmost integrity and his loyalty and consideration for others made him a unique figure of respect and affection in everything he did and everyone he met. As he fought his terrible illness, Stuart was an inspiration, never complaining or showing even the slightest trace of self-pity, but battling courageously, with his trade-mark beaming smile and positive spirit. Nothing would deter him and only last week he was in his place at the Full Council.
"Our deepest condolences and prayers go to all his loving family. He was one of the very best. We shall miss him enormously."