Tributes have been paid to a “community champion” County Durham councillor after their death. 

Isabella Roberts served the East Durham division of Horden since being elected as a Labour member in 2021 and played a key role in supporting the area and its residents. 

Her death was announced by Durham County Council on Thursday. 

The County Durham Labour Party said the former councillor will be remembered for her dedicated service and generosity. 

Party leader cllr Carl Marshall said: “Isabella was a passionate and powerful voice for Horden, which she represented so impressively on the County Council, since her election success in 2021, and as a parish councillor too. She was so hardworking for her community and always had an ear to listen to other people’s troubles.

“Isabella’s kindness and desire to make County Durham a better place will be sorely missed at Labour group and council meetings. She was such a good friend to all of us.”

Paying tribute to her former colleague, cllr Angela Surtees said: “So proud to have stood (and sat) beside this community champion; dedication and passion were two of her greatest qualities - I will dearly miss her smile. I will never forget her tenacity and grit.”

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Tanfield councillor Joyce Charlton added that cllr Roberts was a “genuine soul who was passionate about her area and the community”. 

And responding to the news, current Durham Police and Crime Commisoner Joy Allen said: “So sad to read this news - such a hardworking community champion, advocate and inspirational councillor.”

A statement from Durham County Council read: “Our thoughts are with Isabella’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time. Details of funeral arrangements will be posted as soon as these are known.”