Family and friends have paid tributes to a well thought of restaurateur from Southend.

June Tomassi, co owner of Tomassi restaurant, High Street, Southend has sadly passed away aged 86.

She was born in Rochford Hospital on June 26 1931 and had a Welsh background but her parents came from Southend.

The couple together ran the restaurant, a long established family business which first started in Durham in 1912 and moved to Southend in 1934.

Since then the restaurant has been serving customers with meals, ice creams, coffees, and much more.

Restaurateur Tony Tomassi, who oversaw his family business to its 100th year sadly died in August 2012.

Antony Tomassi, son of the couple said his mother was proud of her Welsh heritage.

He added: “My mother and father met in the restaurant when she went with friends for ice cream and the rest, as they say, is history.

“They married when she was nineteen and in 2010 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

“She leaves behind three children and eight grandchildren who will greatly miss her.

“With Tony, my mother helped over the years to build up the restaurant to what it is today.

“It is thanks to her and my father that the family celebrates more than 100 years and four generations of restaurateurs.

“She was always elegant and made hundreds of friends with customers throughout the years due to being a great story teller and conversationalist like her father.”

Mr Tomassi said that his mother enjoyed photography, was well travelled and an exceptionally good cook.

He also said that she was a strong supporter of Southend.

Ann Holland, councillor for culture, tourism and the economy said June Tomassi will be sadly missed in Southend.

She added: “I did meet June a few times at parties and events with Tony.

“The restaurant has such a good reputation and has always provided something for everyone’s taste.

“The family has been such a big part of Southend and are well thought of.

“She was quite fun and very friendly.

“I am sure that June will be really missed in the town and my thoughts are of course with the family at this time.”