Leading Ipswich councillor and executive member Sophie Connelly has died, leaving a lasting legacy in her adopted home town.

She was proud of her French background - but made Ipswich her home and was married to fellow Labour councillor Stephen Connelly.

She was originally elected to the Whitton Ward in 2016, but had more recently represented the St John's Ward.

She was portfolio holder for culture and customers - and was very well-known across the town.

Mayor Lynne Mortimer said: “It is with great sadness that we learn today of the loss of Councillor Sophie Connelly.

"Sophie was a well-liked and respected member of our Executive and a passionate councillor who worked very hard for her community.

"As we mourn her loss, we also recognise the impact that she had on so many, not only as a councillor but also in her role at Ipswich School and in her community and voluntary work.

"Our thoughts are with Sophie’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

Council leader Neil MacDonald said: "Sophie was bright and quick with a big interest in community.

"Her strong and forthright character shone through and combined with her work rate, helped her become an effective representative for her ward.

Ipswich Star: Mrs Connelly has diedMrs Connelly has died (Image: Ipswich Borough Council)

"She made a big contribution when promoted to the Executive. She put a lot of effort into the work with Communities across the town, meeting and forging relationships with many groups.

"Sophie was tremendously proud to be French and of her French heritage and would often remind her colleagues that they did not have that privilege!

"A wonderful hostess, though a stickler for the right glass for the right drink! She introduced the joy of raclette to her friends, while being kind and generous with both her time and friendship.

"Sophie will be remembered for her hard work, wonderful friendship and joie de vivre. She leaves a big gap in the lives of those who knew her."