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His enthusiasm for life rubbed off on everyone
4:50pm Friday 1st November 2013 in News
THE family of a young footballer and chef killed in a hit-and-run incident said his “enthusiasm for life rubbed off on everyone around him”.
Chef Jonathan Stuart Palmer was leaving work at the Duke of York pub in Berrow when he was involved in a collision with a green Audi cabriolet on Monday at 1.50am.
Paramedics attended but the 21-year-old from Birtsmorton was declared dead at the scene.
Mr Palmer’s family said in a statement that Mr Palmer’s love for football began at an early age.
“Jonathan could kick a ball as soon as he learned to walk and football became the great love of his life.
“As a junior he was part of the successful Abbeymead Rovers team in Gloucester before being spotted and invited to join the West Bromwich Albion Academy at the age of nine.
“Jonathan remained there until the age of 15 before joining the Gloucester City Youth team until a serious knee injury prevented him from playing for two years.
“After a long rehabilitation, he joined Hanley Swan FC and had been enjoying his football once again.”
Graham Holmes, secretary at Hanley Swan FC, paid tribute to the former Hanley Castle High School pupil saying he was a great player and popular with the rest of the team.
He said: “He played football to enjoy himself and could have played at a higher level but he enjoyed being here playing with his friends.
“We’re all in shock at the news – all his team mates and the management are still in shock.
“He was a great lad and will be sorely missed."
His family said having set his sights on a career in football, Mr Palmer also proved to have talents elsewhere after initially taking a part time job at the Duke of York pub in Berrow.
“His enthusiasm for cooking quickly became apparent and he was soon offered a full time position in the kitchen, where he became one of the three chefs at this popular and well-respected pub restaurant.
“Jonathan was a hugely popular figure in his sporting, working and social life in and around the area and was very much the life and soul of the party.
“His enthusiasm for life rubbed off on everyone around him. He will be missed hugely by his family, friends and colleagues.”
The Audi driver, who was also leaving the pub on the A438 between Ledbury and Tewksbury, left the scene.
A 34-year-old man was arrested later on Monday on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
He has since been released on police bail pending further enquires.
Inspector Julian Smith, who is leading the investigation into the incident, said: “It remains vital we speak to everyone who witnessed any part of the collision or the moments leading up to it.
“I would particularly like to hear from everyone who was in the Duke of York on Monday night.
“If anyone was passing the pub on the A438 in the small hours this morning and may have seen the Audi and the bike leaving, then please get in touch.”
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