Warm tributes have been paid to a 25-year-old Eastbourne man killed in a road accident near Heathfield earlier this month.
Ben Cook has been described as a gentle giant who was funny, caring and loving and would do anything for anyone.
Hundreds of people have taken to social media and Facebook to remember Ben, who lived with his parents Jez and Lisa, sister Sophie and girlfriend Jodie Wright at the family home in Sorrel Drive.
His family said they had been overwhelmed by the kind messages and memories of Ben, who would have been 26 this month.
Lisa said, “Ben was an amazing lad and the kindest person you could meet. He was a gentle giant who was the life and soul of the party, funny and caring.”
His dad Jez said, “We were so proud of him. He really was a lovely bloke.”
Born in Eastbourne, Ben went to West Rise and then Causeway School and was a former member of Smith’s Swimming Squad.
A spokesperson at Causeway said, “Ben was a student at Causeway School and is remembered fondly by those staff who taught him.
“He had a larger than life character and was always smiling. He really was a lovely person. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
After leaving school Ben worked at 720 Taxis in the office in Susans Road and Gardners Books before starting railway maintenance work with Sunville Rail, based in Crawley.
His family said he loved cooking, having tattoos done and collecting everything from Zippo lighters to snakes. He was popular with many friends and had been with his girlfriend Jodie for three years.
The railway maintenance engineer was returning from work on the morning of Sunday (June 5) when the commercial pick-up truck he was a passenger in was involved in a collision with a tree on the A267 at Little London.
He was airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton with serious injuries, where he later died.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said, “The driver, a 56-year-old man from Eastbourne, was originally arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
“He has since been rearrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been bailed until September 22 pending further enquiries.
“Witnesses are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting Operation Baltimore.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at Text to display
3) Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Eastbourne Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.
Follow our live blog on the Aegon International Tennis with the latest news.