HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a hard-working councillor who died on Sunday, less than a week after being diagnosed with cancer.

Anne Heyes (pictured), a Liberal Democrat councillor for Moss Bank ward, passed away in hospital aged just 55 after her health deteriorated rapidly last week.

The grandmother-of-three, who lived in the same house at Kentmere Avenue, Carr Mill, where she grew up, had held a seat on the council for the past two years.

Shocked party colleagues saluted her as a community champion, while her devastated daughter Katherine described her as a “rock”.

Mother-of-three Katherine, from Billinge, said: “She had been poorly for a few months suffering with sickness and had been going through tests.

“But she wasn’t diagnosed with cancer until last Monday when an ambulance rushed her to hospital.

“The doctors told us to prepare for the worst and she didn’t even make it out of the hospital.

“We thought she was just a bit poorly so it was a great shock when they told us it was so serious.

“Mum was so positive and had been looking forward to the future and making plans. But that has been taken away from us. She has been an absolute rock for me and we’re all going to miss her so much.

“When her parents died she moved into the same house in Carr Mill where she grew up.

“She got into politics because she didn’t want to be moaning about things, she wanted to help the area where she lived and be doing something for it.”

Anne, who has a son Christopher, aged 32, was a member of St Helens Council’s Licensing and Environmental Protection.

But she had served in the forces before entering the political arena, having held an administrative post with the RAF that saw her family based in different parts of the UK and Europe.

As a committed volunteer, she also dedicated much time to fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

It is thought she trained as many as 11 guide dogs and had also worked for Helena Housing at sheltered accommodation in Billinge.

Long-serving Moss Bank Councillor Carole Kavanagh, said she and the Lib Dem party were deeply upset by the loss of their friend and party colleague.

She said: “She was an exceptional councillor, a caring lady, and a genuinely nice person who was respected by all parties.”

Anne is the third St Helens councillor in the space of six months to have died. Shortly after Christmas 2008 veteran Labour councillors Ken Pinder and Mike Doyle died within days of each other.

Anne’s funeral will be a private service held for her family and friends.