Cllr Stuart Earl passed away this morning (Thursday, October 18) at St Michael’s Hospice.
Malcolm Johnston and Tony Leonard, Rother District Council executive directors, said: “As a born and bred Bexhillian, Cllr Earl was passionate about his hometown and cared greatly about the community he was so proud to represent.
“He served two spells as a district councillor for Bexhill St Marks Ward, was mayor of Bexhill in 2004-05 and served on a number of committees and for a spell as cabinet portfolio holder responsible for regeneration and employment, as well as serving as a member of East Sussex County Council.
“Throughout his life he was very active in the life of the town, from his role in the family bakery business to his work with organisations such as the Bexhill Hospital League of Friends, Rotary Club of Senlac and Bexhill Caring Community.
“He was very highly thought of by his colleagues and we were saddened to learn of his death after a period of illness.
“Our thoughts are with his wife, Cllr Deidre Earl-Williams, and their family at this difficult time.”
Cllr Carl Maynard, Rother District Council leader, said: “I am sure I speak for all councillors and officers at Rother when I say that we are very saddened to hear of Stuart’s passing.
“His involvement with Bexhill residents both as a councillor and a friend will be sorely missed.
“Much will also be said about his efforts as a Rotarian in the coming days which were also of benefit to the wider community.
“We shall all miss his sense of humour and optimism. He was a Bexhill resident first and foremost and the town is a poorer place without him.
Becky Shaw, East Sussex County Council chief executive, said: “Since being elected as member for Bexhill West in 2013, Cllr Earl has been a hard-working and respected member of the council.
“He cared greatly about his hometown of Bexhill and the wider community of East Sussex and was a passionate advocate for the people he was elected to represent.
“During his years of service he took an active role as a member of the Standards Committee, Pension Committee and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
“As well as serving on both the county council and Rother District Council, he was very involved in the community through his work with a range of local organisations.
“We were very saddened to learn of his death and would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family at this difficult time.”