HEARTFELT tributes have been paid by Vale of Clwyd’s MP Chris Ruane following the death of his mother on Christmas Day.

Esther Ruane, who had children Kathy, Chris, Maureen, Gavin and Amy as well as 11 grandchildren and one great-child, died aged 93. She died in her home in the early hours of the morning.

Chris said his mum instilled in all her children the "ethic of hard work." She had worked mainly as a cleaner or as a cook for Chris's cousin Barry in Happy Days and in Ysgol Mair, Rhyl.

"She quite often had three or four jobs on the go at the same time and would drag us along to help her with the cleaning," Chris said.

"Our mother was always there for us - except between the hours of 7pm and 8.30pm when Emmerdale, Corrie and Eastenders was on. She did not receive callers or accept telephone calls.

"My mum was blessed with a keen memory and a sharp mind right to the end - for which we will be eternally grateful."

Esther's funeral was held last week. Chris said the family had received many cards, some of which mentioned that his mother was proud of all her children.

"She did not brag but she did occasionally let people know how proud she was," Chris said.

"One day, she was on the London Duck - a converted landing craft that can travel on land and water and is used to give tourist tours. She was with cousin Ann and sister Amy.

"The guide said - 'we will shortly be passing the House of Commons' and my mum announced, 'My son is an MP - I'll give him a ring to wave to us.

"I came down to the terrace of the House of Commons only to see the duck heading at full steam towards the building, horns blaring and dozens of mad tourists waving their arms. The armed officers next to me readied their machine guns - I intervened saying 'stand down officer - don't shoot, it is me mam!"

Esther was born in the "shadow" of the first world war. She was born in number 3 Brickfield Terrace, Rhyl, in 1924 in the same cottage where her father was born in 1887.

The family moved to St Ann’s St, Council Terrace, the Galley during the war, Ernest Street, Rhydwen Drive before finally settling in Rhydwen Close for nearly 60 years.

She experienced sadness when she lost her husband Michael at 48 and her first child at six-weeks-old.

"She brought us five children up as a widow for many years," Chris added.

"She witnessed the sad passing of her six siblings, she suffered from illnesses such as cancer and circulation problems and chronic conditions including reduced mobility, hearing and eyesight and her Gaviscon bottle was never more than an arms-length away.

"However, she realised that the bad times would go and this anchored her and gave her a realistic, rounded perspective on life. She emerged a stronger person from each trial and tragedy and returned to her perfectly balanced self.

"She had the ability to move on to live her precious life to the full, spreading her love, happiness and joy till the day she died."

Chris said for 93 years, his mother "sowed love and kindness" and in return, she received it back from her children.

"Mum had a great sense of belonging through both place and people," he added.

"She could trace her roots back in the Rhyl area for more than 300 years."