Tributes have been paid to a philanthropist who founded a charitable trust for Essex.

Ian Marks, founder of Essex Community Foundation (ECF), sadly died at his home in Margaretting, aged 85.

Mr Marks founded ECF in 1996 with the aim of changing charitable giving in Essex.

It was one of the first organisations of its kind in the UK and aims to improve the lives of people across the county by giving support to voluntary groups and charities working at a grassroots level.

Mr Marks CBE DL, inspired many people with his ambition to create a permanent financial resource for the voluntary sector in his home county.

Laura Warren, ECF’s first chief executive, said: “Without his belief, that it is local people who have the power to bring change to their own communities, Essex would not have what it has now, a Community Foundation with funds now totalling £40 million, to support local causes in perpetuity.

“It was my good fortune to be appointed by Ian to spend 15 years as ECF’s founding CEO.

“He was an inspirational leader - visionary, demanding, enthusiastic, fun, and the most supportive chairman one could have wanted.”

Mr Marks was born in South Woodford and apart from national service, worked and lived in Essex all his life.

After graduating from Cambridge, he joined the family confectionery firm, Trebor.

He rose to become its managing director and, in 1980, its chairman.

He was made a CBE in 1993 for services to the food industry.

In 1989 Trebor was sold to Cadbury and Ian went on to devote his life to philanthropy.

His wife Angela was unwavering in her support and helped make his ambitions become a reality.