Tributes have been paid to Megs Wilson, the co-founder of Welwyn Garden City-based charity the Willow Foundation, who has passed away at the age of 81.

Mrs Wilson's family confirmed yesterday evening that she "died peacefully at home", describing her as "wonderful and inspirational" in a touching tribute.

"It is with heart-breaking sadness that we announce that Megs Wilson died peacefully at home today," read a statement.

"A wonderful, inspirational wife, mother, nanny and friend, she brought joy to so many people.

"Bob, and her sons John and Robert, would like to thank all the amazing nurses from Marie Curie, Macmillan and local NHS services who have looked after Megs with such incredible care."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Megs with husband Bob Wilson.Megs with husband Bob Wilson. (Image: Willow)

Alongside husband and former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson, Megs set up the Willow Foundation in 1999, in memory of their daughter Anna, who died of cancer aged just 31.

Since then, the charity has put on more than 20,000 Special Days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40.

The charity has always had close links with our area, having been set up when the couple lived in Brookmans Park, with their offices originally based in Hatfield before moving to their current site in Welwyn Garden City.

In a tribute, the Willow Foundation described its co-founder as a "beacon of hope and compassion", and pledged to "continue fulfilling her mission".

"We are heartbroken to announce the death of Megs Wilson, one of our beloved founders and life presidents," read a statement.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Bob and Megs founded the Willow Foundation in 1999.Bob and Megs founded the Willow Foundation in 1999. (Image: New Pixels Photography)

"Megs and her husband Bob set up Willow in 1999 as a lasting legacy to their daughter, Anna.

"Since then, their vision, support and dedication to offering quality of life and quality of time to young adults aged 16 to 40 facing serious illnesses has touched the lives of more than 20,000 beneficiaries, along with countless other individuals and families.

"Megs will be sadly missed by everyone at Willow. She will forever shine as a beacon of hope and compassion, inspiring us to continue fulfilling her mission and ensuring that her memory lives on through the positive impact she has left on this world.

"Our thoughts are with Bob and the Wilson family at this sad time."

Back in September, Arsenal legend David Seaman and his wife Frankie were named as honorary presidents of the Willow Foundation.

"We are heartbroken today at the death of our Willow Foundation co-president and founder Megs Wilson," read a tribute from the couple.

"An inspiration and friend, you will be forever missed, our love goes out to our great friend Bob Wilson, who has lost the love of his life."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: David and Frankie Seaman with Bob and Megs Wilson.David and Frankie Seaman with Bob and Megs Wilson. (Image: Willow Foundation)