For many adults in Britain, the Queen has been the only monarch they have ever known.

Across Suffolk and north Essex, community leaders including civic, MPs and members of the church community have paid their respects to the monarch, who died on Thursday afternoon surrounded by her family.

Flags have been flown at half-mast including at Ipswich Town Hall.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, paid tribute to "the beating heart of the nation".

She said: “The beating heart of our great nation has been silenced.

“Our grief is beyond all imagining.

“The whole world has lost an incomparable Queen and woman, a leader for all time.

“The whole world stands with its flags at half-mast.

“In our beloved Suffolk, a county the Queen had such a great affection for, we are completely devastated.”

Suffolk County Council chairman, councillor Robert Everitt said: "On behalf of my fellow councillors and officers of Suffolk County Council, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to His Majesty The King, and the entire Royal Family, at the sad news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

“It is impossible for any of us to remember a time when Her Majesty was not a part of the fabric of our lives. To me, the decades of unbroken, faultless and consistent public service stand as Her Majesty's greatest legacy.

"When you look back on her reign which saw so much change for this country, so many scientific and cultural advancements, so much peril and challenge, throughout it all there was always a calming, steadfast constant – Her Majesty The Queen.

“The loss of Her Majesty will of course be felt across the world, not only in the other nations where she was Queen, but also in the wider Commonwealth and beyond.

“Her Majesty visited Suffolk many times, often with her beloved Husband, The Duke of Edinburgh. On every occasion, come rain or shine, the people of Suffolk came out of their homes to welcome her with much love and affection.

"We remember especially her first visit to Suffolk in July of 1961 when she sailed on the Royal Yacht Britannia into Shotley at HMS Ganges, drove through Suffolk to open the Civic College in Ipswich and on to see the plans for the Cathedral extensions in Bury St Edmunds.

"Again, in July 1977, she toured the county celebrating her Silver Jubilee – entertained by Morris dancers and a specially commissioned composition by Benjamin Britten.

"Most recently in April 2009, where she distributed Maundy money at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral, she said: 'Our sense of what it is to be British derives as much from the treasured towns, villages and coastline of East Anglia as it does from the great cities like London or Birmingham.'

“I know the people of Suffolk will want to pay their own personal tributes to Her Majesty. Therefore, books of condolence are being opened across the county, in addition to an online book of condolences which is now available on Suffolk County Council’s website.

"As a mark of our respect, flags on all council buildings are being flown at half-mast as we join with the country, and the whole world, in mourning the loss of Her Majesty."

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: I'm deeply, deeply shocked by this news. Completely in despair and upset. I'm sure there will be tributes in parliament tomorrow and I will definitely be there to take part in that. Most definitely in my lifetime, we have never seen a monarch who has given so much to her country."

Woodbridge Mayor Patrick Gillard said: "The Mayor and everyone on the council offer our sympathy and condolences to the Queen and her family and we think she has had a magnificent career and we were so happy to celebrate her 70th anniversary. We are grateful for everything she has done for the country and we mourn her passing today."

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: "It is difficult to take in. For so many adults in Britain, the Queen is the only Monarch that we have ever known.

"She has always provided that stability for the country and a long record of service so I think we are all feeling a great sense of shock and it will certainly take time to come to terms with her death and I think we will all reflect on the service that she gave to the country and we will mourn her passing."

"On behalf of the Borough Council, the town’s residents and its businesses, the Mayor of Ipswich expresses his most profound sorrow and conveys his deepest condolences to the King and the Royal Family on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."

Mayor of Ipswich, Cllr John Cook, said: "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British History. Known for her sense of duty, the Queen was much loved by people in Ipswich, Suffolk and across the globe.

"Over the course of her long and illustrious reign she met millions of people across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. She dedicated her life to her family, her nation and to the Commonwealth."

MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge said: "It was profoundly moving to hear of the Queen’s passing. She was such a wonderful monarch, who devoted her life to public service and ceaseless duty, and I simply feel incredibly privileged to have lived in her great reign. I send my thoughts & prayers to the Royal Family, and to His Majesty the King.

"I know my constituents will share the nation’s shock at this news but in the days ahead we will all have the chance to mourn, honour, and reflect upon, an extraordinary life and a most special Briton."

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: "I don't think any of us ever thought we would see this day. It has happened incredibly quickly. Britain has, during the course of her reign, gone through an awful lot.

"There's been an awful lot of turbulence out there and the world has been changing. But she was steadfast and she was the foundation stone of stability on which the UK has come through a very difficult time. She never lost her cool, she always behaved impeccably, she set the highest example for all of us to try to follow.

"Quite frankly, there was no way any of us could ever come up to that. She was quite a remarkable person. I suspect, in British history, she will go down as the greatest monarch in terms of her remarkable sense of duty and the dignified and correct way that she always held herself and she never put a foot wrong."

Newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey tweeted her condolences alongside West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock.

Therese Coffey said: "Today, I mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II RIP. Earlier this year the nation celebrated her Platinum Jubilee with much love and joy, recognising her decades of service. My thoughts and prayers are with His Majesty King Charles III and all the Royal Family."

Matt Hancock said: "The Queen has been a rock of stability for our nation and the world throughout her 70 years on the throne. Queen Elizabeth II embodied so much of our shared history and she represented our great nation to the world.

"Her service, dedication and duty have inspired us all."

Felixstowe Mayor Sharon Harkin said: "We are incredibly saddened by the news of our great Queen and our thoughts at this time are with her family and also the people of Felixstowe who will be shocked and saddened by this and in grief."

Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dr Dan Poulter said “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of HM the Queen and my thoughts are, of course, with her family at this very sad and difficult time.

"HM the Queen has been the very best example of “service above self” and has entirely dedicated her life to public service. Her loss will be felt across the Commonwealth and of course, here in Suffolk.”

Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, said: "As one born between Her Majesty's accession and coronation, I consider myself a true Elizabethan. I have met Her Majesty and I deeply admire her servitude to the nation. My thoughts are with her and the Royal Family. I wish her well! God save The Queen.

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill said: "I join with others in expressing my deepest sadness at the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. My thoughts and prayers are with The Royal Family and her friends at this sad time.

"The Queen, for many of us has been the one constant in an ever-changing world, supporting our nation and its people through good times and bad.

"Her Majesty was revered as a symbol of strength, duty and leadership, her loss will be felt across the world but most keenly by those of us in the United Kingdom, the Realms, and the Commonwealth. Rest in peace."

Stowmarket Mayor Barry Salmon said: "We would to send our condolences to the Queen's family for their sad loss and indeed the loss of the whole of the nation for someone that has been in place for such a long period of time.

"We would like to do all we can to ensure that her reign is respected for the way she has served us for such a long period of time."

Sudbury Mayor Ellen Murphy said: "She gave a long, loyal service to the country and will be sorely missed. I'd like to send my condolences to the family. It is important to note that she truly gave her life to her country."

Councillor Mike Chester Chair of West Suffolk Council, said: "It was with deep sorrow and regret that we heard the announcement of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. On behalf of councillors West Suffolk, as well as residents throughout our area, we send our sincere condolences.

"Queen Elizabeth II was a well-known and much-loved figure in our part of the world. Her abiding passion for horseracing made her a frequent visitor to its national home, Newmarket, and the visits she made to Bury St Edmunds (especially the celebration of her Golden Jubilee) live long in local memories. Indeed, she visited many places in West Suffolk where her interest in the lives of those who live and work here were appreciated by all who met her.

"At a time when changes to our everyday lives are continuous, the Queen was a constant. Her dedication to the duty of being our monarch was exemplary, especially to those in, or aspiring to, public service. Her experience, knowledge and compassion were appreciated by so many people and, to put it simply, we will miss her tremendously.

"Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this difficult time – the sadness at their loss is shared by us all."

Suffolk’s most senior Church of England clergyman has spoken of his profound sadness at the death of Her Majesty the Queen – and said her decades of service are without parallel.

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: “We send our sincere condolences to her family. Her Majesty visited the Diocese on a number of occasions during her reign, and during each visit the warmth of feeling the people had for her was clear. I know she had a particular affection for Suffolk.

“Through her decades of devotion to her role and to the people of the Commonwealth she has given us all remarkable focus of constancy and stability, and an example of self-giving service. She was always clear how her Christian faith was at the heart of this, and how she found in her faith strength, fortitude and hope.

“She was a wonderful ambassador for Britain and an example to us all. I know people will want to pay their own personal tributes to someone who has been a part of this great country’s fabric for so many years.

“Books of condolence have been opened across the churches in our Diocese. As a mark of respect for Her Majesty the Queen, flags on all churches are also being flown at half-mast.

“Her family are much in our prayers, and in particular we hold His Majesty the King in our prayers as he accedes to the throne.”

Arrangements have been made to enable members of the public to lay floral tributes at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The Dean of St Edmundsbury, The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, said: “As a nation and Commonwealth we begin to come to terms today with the loss of The Queen, who has been for the vast majority of us a point of stability and fidelity throughout our lives.

Cllr James Caston, chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council, “As we give thanks for Her Majesty’s 70 years of love and service for her people, we commit her to the arms of the God whose love has been her mainstay, and we pledge our loyalty and service as Church and Nation to His Majesty the King.

"The loss of Her Majesty The Queen will be felt personally and profoundly across the district and our nation. We think of her with sadness today, but also with joy for what she brought to this great country."

Cllr Kathryn Grandon, Babergh District Council chairman, said: “Today we extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Royal family at this very sad time and send our condolences.

"There will be a real sense of loss across the nation. Her many years of service to this county and across the world will never be forgotten. The Queen will always be remembered with great affection and her visits to the district remembered with great fondness.”

Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, said: “I know I speak on behalf of colleagues from across the NHS, social care and the wider system of Suffolk and North East Essex when I say we are incredibly saddened by the news Her Majesty The Queen has passed away.

"She is one of the most important leaders in our history, leaving a legacy of kindness, respect and exemplary public service to the United Kingdom and the wider world.”

During her visit to Suffolk in July, 1961, the Queen visited the historic HMS Ganges mast and led a parade at the mast, as well as presenting a Crown to the Button Boy, who stood at the top.

Roger Jones, chair of HMS Ganges Museum, said: "My reaction is, as somebody who was 12 when she came to the throne so I have lived all the way through her reign and my personal reaction is one of sadness. It is still early days and I am still trying to gather my thoughts."

Mayor of Bury St Edmunds Peter Thompson: The people of Bury St Edmunds join the rest of our nation in mourning the passing of our monarch. We remember that she was not just an unprecedented Head of State, but she was a normal wife, sister, mother and grandparent who was devoted to her family. She shaped our country, touched millions of lives across the globe and whilst this is a time to be sad, it is also a time to celebrate an amazing life given in service of us all.

The Queen visited arts venue Snape Maltings to open a new concert hall on June 2, 1967. A spokesperson for Snape Maltings said: "Everyone at Britten Pears Arts, Snape Maltings and The Red House is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We send heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family."

The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Tim Young, said: “On behalf of the people of Colchester, I would like to express my most profound sorrow at the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, and to convey our deepest condolences to all members of the Royal Family at this difficult time.

“Queen Elizabeth has been a loyal servant to this country and has touched the hearts of millions of people, not just in the United Kingdom but throughout the Commonwealth and across the globe. She was an exceptional person who devoted her life to her family, her nation, and the Commonwealth.

“Her Majesty visited Colchester on many occasions, including in 1985 when she attended a lunch in our Town Hall. Whenever she visited, she was greeted by thousands of well-wishers.

"I am sure that the people of Colchester will wish to join me in reflection on this sad and momentous occasion, by signing the Book of Condolence and placing floral tributes at the town's War Memorial.”

Cllr Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council Conservative Group, said: "On behalf of everyone in our group, I extend our deepest sympathies to His Majesty the King, and all the Royal Family, on the sad news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

"Her Majesty, through her incredible sense of dedication and duty to our great country, was a cosntant source of inspiration to us all. Across the county, the country, the Commonwealth and beyond there will be a sense of profound loss. Today, we are deeply sad but our nation is all stronger for having her as our Queen and we remain as proud of her as she was dedicated to us. May she rest in peace. God Save The King."

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: "The announcement of the death of Her Majesty The Queen is received with great sadness. All of us in Suffolk are united in grief at the passing of our nations’ longest ever serving monarch.

"The Queen’s long reign is an extraordinary example of unstinting commitment and dedication, particularly during times of national and international difficulties.

"Her work across the United Kingdom, The Commonwealth and many other nations of the world is second to none and has been a powerful force for the greater good of us all.

"We send our thoughts and prayers to the whole Royal Family. She will be sorely missed, and we are all eternally grateful for all she has accomplished."

Will Quince, MP for Colchester, said: "I am incredibly sad to hear the news that Her Majesty The Queen has passed away at the age of 96. May she rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family at this most difficult time. God Save The King."

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, who leads the tribute on behalf of Essex Police, said: “Our deepest condolences are with the Royal Family at this very difficult time.

“Her Majesty The Queen served her country loyally and faithfully for 70 years and today we will lower our flags to both honour and remember her.”

Chairman of East Suffolk Council, Cllr Jenny Ceresa said: “On behalf of East Suffolk Council, our residents and communities, I would like to express our deep sadness following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. Our thoughts at this sad time are with the Royal Family.

“We will of course ensure that the people of East Suffolk are provided with the information they need to pay their respects to Her Majesty The Queen and her life of service to the country and to the world.”

As a mark of respect, the flags at our council offices will be flown at half-mast from today, 8 September.

Do you have a tribute to the Queen you would like to share? email