Tributes paid after sudden death of ‘much-loved’ Eastbourne man

Tributes have been paid to a 43-year-old Eastbourne man who died after collapsing while playing football.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:18 pm

Paul James, a father of two, was train driver for Southeastern Railway also worked as an associate ambulance practitioner based in Polegate.

A statement from a South East Coast Ambulance spokesperson said, “We can sadly confirm that a member of SECAmb staff, Paul James, known as PJ and a much-loved and respected associate ambulance practitioner based at Polegate, suffered a cardiac arrest while playing football on Friday (June 11) and sadly passed away.

“Ambulance crews attended the scene at Wallsend Road in Pevensey and he was taken to hospital where he sadly died. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”

Paul James. Photo from Mike Pett. SUS-210616-141303001
Paul James. Photo from Mike Pett. SUS-210616-141303001

Stacey James, Mr James’ wife, said, “PJ was just the kindest most wonderful man who loved all of us and we all loved him. He is an inspiration to us all for his strength and love of life and that will live on in all of us.

“He will be eternally missed by everyone.”

Mr James was a pitch-side medic at Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

A spokesperson for the club said, “Everyone at Brighton and Hove Albion was extremely saddened to hear such terrible news. Paul was a member of a vital team who worked hard to provide the club with valued and essential medical support on match days at the Amex.

Paul James. Photo from Mike Pett. SUS-210616-141313001

“He will be missed by his family and many friends, to whom our thoughts and prayers are with at this very difficult time.”

A funding page has been set up which has already raised more than £23,000 for Mr James’ family.

The page, set up by family friend Mike Pett, says, “Today is a very difficult day having lost PJ yesterday, he was such a loved and special man and not only by Stacey, Jude and Jasmine and the rest of his family but also to many, many friends in and around Eastbourne.

“PJ was an amazing and inspirational guy, best man to many and the central pin to so many different friendship circles and always knew the way to the beach. He played a pivotal role in making sure a very diverse set of friends all stayed in touch and kept the fun times coming. He was very special to so many and life will not be the same without him and his biceps in our lives.

“He will be missed by many and I would like to invite you all to share some words, pictures and memories that you have of PJ.

“Our thoughts are with Stacey, Jude, Jasmine and the family at this very sad time and I hope that this page can help them and you.”

Paul James’ funding page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pauljames?utm_term=Bb5RN8NBD