Fabio Voigt, who died in an accident in Lindfield last Friday, was a promising young chef at Gravetye Manor who loved life and was determined to reach the pinnacle of his career.
Fabio, who lived in Sydney Road, Haywards Heath was on his motorbike when he was involved in a collision with an Audi A3 in High Beech Lane.
Emergency services were called but they were unable to save him.
Fabio, 20, leaves his mother, Ariana Williams, his elder sister Callan and step-father Nick. Ariana told the Middy: “You can imagine, when the police rang me to tell me what had happened I was devastated. I just broke down. I feel a part of me is missing.
“He was like an angel. He was loved by everybody and helped everybody. He always had a smile on his face and I don’t remember him ever being down.”
Fabio was educated at St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill and at Central Sussex College’s Crawley campus before taking up an apprenticeship as a chef at Gravetye Manor near West Hoathly, one of the south east’s top hotels and restaurants.
Andrew Thomason, Gravetye Manor’s managing director said: “Fabio just turned up at our door one day and wanted a chance and we gave it to him because we liked him so much.
“Fabio was coming to the end of his one year apprenticeship with us. He gave it 100 per cent and we were looking forward to working with him in the next phase of his career.
“We are like a family here and we were all very fond of Fabio. He was such a lovely chap, always cheerful and very polite.”
Fabio had been working with very talented chefs producing top cuisine that had been awarded a coveted Michelin star from 2008 onwards. Ariana said: “Fabio absolutely loved working at Gravetye Manor. He lived life to the full and was very determined.”
In his spare time, Fabio liked playing the drums and had recently bought a new kit. He had also enjoyed volunteering as a fire cadet in Burgess Hill for five years. Head teacher at St Paul’s Catholic College Rob Carter said: “Fabio was a vibrant part of our community at St Paul’s until he left in 2009.
“He was a kind, sensitive and caring student and a good friend. He enjoyed very warm relationships with all staff and we have very fond memories of his time at the college. He will be missed by us all and we keep his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.”
Police have begun investigations into the accident and a report will be filed to the Coroner for West Sussex, Penelope Schofield, for an inquest.
Floral tributes to a ‘Dear Friend’ have been left at the scene of the accident and Fabio’s family would like to thank everyone for their cards and messages of sympathy.
Police have put signs near the scene, appealing for witnesses to contact them about the crash, which happened at 1.44pm last Friday.