And so a fourth councillor that I have shared the chamber at Southend-on-Sea has passed away. It really is very sad. I can be quite combative in debate, but at times like this all of that must be forgotten. Someone who has served his community has passed on.
I have many memories of Mike Assenheim. I cannot pretend to know him as well as others, my tenure as councillor for Milton is still not yet five years after all. But we chatted, and often agreed. I used to tease him a bit, and I am still not sure whether he knew I was joking at the time!
If I sit and think about our non-political conversations it was often on the subject of Westcliff-on-Sea, my birthplace and where I live today. I cannot recall if Mike was born here, but he certainly had a long association with it. We talked of places and streets we knew well.
Recently I sat beside him when we were interviewing prospective Town Clerks. His contribution to the process was mostly excellent.
He died on the way back from his doctor's, and I can only say I am pleased that in a recent debate about parking at his GP surgery I supported Mike's arguments.
Mike was 74, far too young to be taken. He was a leading light in politics in the east of the borough, even if he often asserted he was non-political.
My condolences to Mike's loved ones, and to the Independent Group who have lost a wise and gentle voice.