Councils offer condolences

Councils across south Essex cancelled a raft of meetings as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

Southend postponed its full council meeting, Thurrock cancelled a cleaner, greener, safer scrutiny committee meeting and Basildon Council cancelled a cabinet meeting after the announcement that the 96-year-old monarch had died.

Southend Mayor Kevin Robinson issued a statement following the news. He said: “We join the rest of the nation in expressing our very great sadness at the announcement today regarding the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

“Her Majesty The Queen was our longest reigning Monarch, and was loved and respected across the world. Our thoughts are with The Royal Family at this deeply sad time.”

Mr Robinson added: “A letter of condolence will be sent to the Queen’s personal secretary expressing our sympathies.”

Mayor of Basildon, Councillor Luke Mackenzie, said: “We join the rest of the nation in expressing our great sorrow at the announcement of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“On behalf of members and officers of Basildon Council, and the people of the Basildon Borough, our thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family during this difficult time.”

Mayor of Thurrock, James Halden said: “I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the royal family on behalf of the whole Thurrock community at this difficult time.

“Millions of families, like mine, would have experienced the most profound pause as we waited for news. This pause would have become great grief. However, it is my belief that this grief will yield for gratitude, thankfulness and joy for the life of the greatest head of state.”

Flags will be flown at half-mast at the councils’ civic offices,

A Book of Condolence for residents wishing to express their sympathies will be opened in the Civic Offices in Grays.

Floral tributes may be left at the Grays Park Memorial, in Grays Town Park.

An official Book of Condolence will be opened and available to sign in Southend Civic Centre’s Jubilee Room. Floral tributes should be left by the fountain in the public square outside the Civic Centre in Victoria Avenue.

Basildon Council is expected to announce its arrangements today.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter