A FAMILY has paid tribute to a beloved mother who has gone down in Canvey Carnival history.

Sheila Spooner was best known around the island for her role as one half of the iconic Canvey Carnival duo who would parade around on mobility scooters.

Each year since 2015, Sheila would dress up in a variety of outfits for the carnival, with her most famous being the Pearly Queen.

Her son, David Spooner, 39, said: “For years she would wear her pearled jacket and hat with a big smile; everyone knew her as part of the mobility scooter double act. She would ride around with sweets in the front for all the kids to enjoy. She absolutely loved it.”

Sheila and her husband, David, whom she met in the seventies, also ran the large fruit and vegetable stall in Canvey market.

Together they also set up the Video Shop on the island, which they owned from 1992 until 2007. Their son David then took over the shop until it closed down.

Sheila was also a spiritual medium and ran the Healing Hands Spiritualist Centre from the Women’s Institute until it was knocked down.

David, from Canvey, also remembered how her opinion on island matters often featured in the Echo.

He said: “She loved it when a reporter would ring her for her expert advice, and her face would always light up whenever her she saw her name in the paper.

“Mum was part of the old guard - the older generation on Canvey who were a part of the island, they had great respect and morals.”

She sadly died at the age of 73, from pneumonia and heart failure.

Sheila leaves behind her sister, Janet - who acted as the other half of the mobility duo - as well as brother, Paul, and three children, David, Daniel and Shaun.

David added: “It’s been a really hard time for us, I would visit her four times a day and looked after her until the very end.

“She really did fight hard and I’m lost without her. I have lost my mum and best friend.”

Her son, Daniel Spooner, 41, from Milton Keynes, added: “She loved her family unconditionally, and taught me more about life than school ever did. [She] was the strongest woman I ever met.”

Former councillor, Ray Howard, said: “ Canvey lost a very special individual when we lost Sheila. People like her worked hard to make sure every year the Canvey Carnival was something people look forward to. She was very community minded.

“I’m sending my deepest condolences to her family.”