A “BIG-HEARTED” Billericay father – dubbed Mr Fireworks – has died suddenly, aged just 44.

Tributes have been paid to Adam Hills, who led the Billericay Round Table fireworks display at Lake Meadows for the past seven years.

He also helped train future champions at Billericay Boxing Club and ran his own business – Adam’s Carpet Cleaning Services.

Mr Hills, who leaves behind wife Carol and a young son, collapsed at his Billericay home on Thursday, March 6.

The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

Fireworks fan Mr Hills has been credited with helping to raise thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes through his voluntary work with Billericay Round Table, including cash for newplay equipment, seating and a new fountain at Lake Meadows. A statement released by the group said: “Adam was a big bear of a man whowas passionate about life and helping others. His hulking physique was matched by a big heart.

“Adam spoke his mind plainly and didn’t suffer fools gladly, but he was a very kind bloke, too.

“He had a wicked sense of humour and was a revered practical joker, as anyone who had been on the end of one his ruses will tell you.

“He simply loved the firework display and it is truly inconceivable he will not be a part of our future events. Billericay has lost a friend and worthy member of the community.”

Mr Hills joined Billericay Round Table ten years ago. He was born and raised in the town and was a regular visitor to the annual firework display, but went on to help turn it into a huge success.

Last year’s event, which included £21,000 of rockets, firecrackers and catherine wheels, saw thousands of people descend on Lake Meadows from nine different counties.

Gary Tilley, spokesman for Billericay Round Table, is confident the 45th annual display on Saturday, November 8, will still go ahead with a bang.

He said: “As soon as the fireworks ended last year we started planning for the 2014 event. It takes a lot of work, but a lot of the organising has already been done.”