Head chef pays tribute after Handcross crash

Thomas Drewery with colleagues at The Pass SUS-150128-160134001
Thomas Drewery with colleagues at The Pass SUS-150128-160134001

Tributes have poured in for a popular chef who died after his car collided with a tree near Handcross.

Thomas Drewery, 21, of Arthur Road, Horsham, died after his grey Ford Focus hit a tree and went into a field off the B2110 near Truckers Ghyll.

Mr Drewery, who worked at The Pass restaurant in South Lodge Hotel at Lower Beeding, ‘touched everyone’s hearts’ his family said.

Matt Gillan, head chef at The Pass, said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the loss of his ‘little brother’.

He said: “Tom, or Grimmy, as he was affectionately known to us, joined my team two years ago as a young, inexperienced cook. But he quickly became more than just one of my chefs.

“He was a friend to everyone he met and a little brother to me and my team.

“Grimmy worked hard and enthusiastically, and did so with a cheeky smile on his face. We are all deeply saddened to lose him but so proud of what he achieved while he was with us.

“Our thoughts and hearts are with his family at this difficult time. Sleep tight young Grimmy. We miss you bud!”

In a statement his family said: “Thomas lived in Horsham but hails from Louth, Lincolnshire. Two years ago he came to Sussex to follow his dream of becoming a Michelin starred chef.

“Thomas worked in The Pass restaurant at South Lodge Hotel, a job he loved. He made so many friends. Thomas touched everyone’s hearts and will be very much missed.”

Officers closed the road in both directions, between the Church Lane junction and the B2114 Brighton Road junction, while they carried out their investigation last week.

No other vehicles are thought to have been involved in the collision and there were no reports of passengers in the car.

A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance service said two paramedic cars and an ambulance were called to attend the scene but the man was already dead when crews arrived.

Police are still appealing for witnesses. Anyone with information should email collision.appeal@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 quoting Operation Bexley.