Taking a break - Sir Julian and wife Paddy pictured by the River Thames in the mid-1980s

TODAY'S Memories spread puts the spotlight on an influential figure in north Essex politics.

Sir Julian Ridsdale was the Conservative MP for Harwich for nearly 40 years, until he stood down in 1992.

A Thatcherite backbencher with a keen interest in Japan, Sir Julian was knighted in 1981.

For many years, he lived in St Osyth with wife Paddy, his constituency secretary and the inspiration for Ian Fleming's Miss Moneypenny character.

Sir Julian died in 2004 while Lady Ridsdale, later made a Dame for political services in 1991, passed away in 2009.

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Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Sealed with a kiss - Paddy congratulates her husband after his election victory in May 1979

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Big moment - Sir Julian opened Hanover Court, in Dovercourt, in May 1990

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Hook, line and sinker - Sir Julian and Paddy try their hand at fishing in 1974

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Proud moment - Sir Julian has every reason to smile after being awarded his knighthood in July 1981

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Special occasion - Sir Julian at the Frinton Conservative Club fete in July 1982, to mark the association’s 30th anniversary

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Official duty - Sir Julian and wife Paddy were on hand to unveil the Samuel Pepys plaque outside Harwich town hall, in February 1982

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Holding the baby - Sir Julian paid a special visit to Clacton maternity home in October 1984