Tributes paid to ‘funny and caring’ man from Lewes who died in Eastbourne

Tributes have been paid to a 30-year-old Lewes man who died after getting into difficulty in the sea near Eastbourne.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 5:30 pm

Dean Evans passed away at the DGH on November 15 last year, an inquest heard.

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday (May 20), heard Mr Evans, a watch maker, moved to Glynde with his partner Rose-Marie Caldecott in June 2020.

Beverley Evans, Mr Evans’ mother, said he had secured his ‘dream job’ after studying at the British School of Watch Making.

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155116008

She said, “He was a strong, fit and healthy man. He was a competent swimmer. He was always happy.”

Miss Caldecott said, “He was funny and caring. Everyone enjoyed his company.

“He was adventurous, but careful and meticulous too.”

Miss Caldecott said the couple went to Cuckmere Haven around 12.30pm that day and Mr Evans wanted to try out his new wetsuit.

She said, “It was our favourite swimming spot but we’d never been in the winter. Dean was a strong and competent swimmer.”

When they arrived, the sea conditions were ‘rougher than usual’ according to Miss Caldecott, so they went to a section near where Cuckmere River joins the sea as she said it was calmer there.

Miss Caldecott said Mr Evans entered the water at the river mouth, but he got pulled out to sea.

She said, “Neither of us knew the dangers of swimming at Cuckmere Haven in the winter. I wasn’t aware he was in danger until it was too late.

“I started getting anxious when he wouldn’t come back. I think he was trying to calmly fix the situation, trying to fight the waves and stay above them. But eventually he ran out of energy and just started floating horizontally.”

A nearby couple called the coastguard when Miss Caldecott entered the sea to try and get to Mr Evans.

Miss Caldecott said, “The waves were relentless. I instantly regretted getting in.”

After a few minutes she got out and waited with members of the public until the coastguard and ambulance arrived. This was at 1.25pm according to Holly Hawkins, the woman who called 999 and stayed with Miss Caldecott.

Sam Bennett, a coastguard rescue officer, entered the water to get Mr Evans out.

Mr Evans was then taken to the DGH by the coastguard helicopter where resuscitation attempts were stopped and he was pronounced dead that afternoon.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze said, “He was a perfectly capable man and had no reason to suspect he wasn’t going to be safe.”

Mr Craze ruled Mr Evans died from misadventure.