TRIBUTES have been paid to a funny family man who launched the festive period for dozens of towns each year.

Keith Frost, from Rochford, died after fighting a nuroendercrime tumour, the day before his 61st birthday, in Southend Hospital.

He was instrumental in the ever-popular Christmas light switch on events across Essex - including in Southend - London and Kent, and worked with major stars such as football legend Bobby Moore.

His wife, Jacqueline, 60, said the family has been left broken by her husband’s passing.

She said: “He had two lots of treatment and knew that there was a chance that he might not survive the cancer.

“He was a very quiet and modest man and the hospital staff were amazing and let us stay with him all the time. We want to thank the staff so much. He was my best friend. We thought that we would have years left together.”

Mr Frost worked for Aylesford Electricals, in Kent, for ten years and was the main organiser for the light switch-on events for about 52 towns across the country.

Mrs Frost added: “He had clients and knew people from all over the place.

“Even when he was ill, he would still make sure this year’s Christmas lights event in Southend was a huge success.

“He would be on site for 12 hours and was so particular about his work.”

“The tree in Southend was one of his special trees.”

His son, Aaron, said: “Dad was so much more than a father to me. We often went to the West Ham games as a family day out.

“We had a really good relationship and even used to enjoy lads holidays.”

The 33-year-old added: “He would say he hated Christmas, but he loved it.

“Dad’s Christmas tree was always better than anyone else’s.”

Mr Frost’s funeral, organised by FP Guiver and Sons, will be held on December 17 with a glass horse-drawn carriage leading a procession to a service at Sutton Road Crematorium with the funeral starting from 2.40pm.