Warm tributes have been paid to an Eastbourne businessman who died in a fire which ripped through the upstairs of a house in Langney in the early hours of Monday morning.
He has been named locally as Paul Robinson, who ran Winning Look and Look Designs Ltd specialising in personalised clothing in Hailsham.
The alarm was raised at 1am on Monday and firefighters from Eastbourne, Hailsham and Herstmonceux, and the incident command unit, rushed to the blaze in Chiltern Close.
Fire crews, paramedics and detectives spent most of the night at the house.
Mr Robinson’s body was found inside the building.
A joint investigation has been launched by Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to try to find out how the blaze began.
Detective Inspector Neil Ralph said, “We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area and who saw anything that might help us understand how the fire started.”
Witnesses can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101 quoting reference 58 of 17/19.
A spokesperson at ESFRS said, “Our thoughts are with those affected by this incident.”
Mr Robinson, originally from London, was a prominent businessman and also a popular figure at Eastbourne Borough FC, where he was a former board member, Eastbourne Rugby Club, a keen member of the New Eastbourne Writers group and supported local charities.
Paul Maynard, chair of the board at Borough, said, “Eastbourne Borough Football Club are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Paul Robinson in the early hours of Monday morning last.
“Through his involvement in Winning Look, Paul and his family, have been huge backers of the club and Paul was a director of EBFC until 2014.
“This is devastating news. Paul was always a cheerful and optimistic presence at Priory Lane and became a personal friend.
“He joined the board at the same time I did and brought a drive and enthusiasm to the role which the club continues to benefit from today.
“He was instrumental in helping set up the Academy and continued to take great pride in its achievements.
“I know that many other sporting clubs and good causes in the town have benefitted from his support and involvement.
“Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family at this difficult time.”
Writer Louise Sewell from the New Eastbourne Writers said, “Paul was looking forward to becoming chairman. He had some fantastic ideas.”
Fraser Brooks, chairman at Eastbourne Rugby Club said Paul was a good friend to the Park Avenue club.
He said, “Paul was not only a good friend of mine and my wife Jane’s but a great friend of our charity You Raise Me Up and indeed Eastbourne Rugby Club.
“He was always willing to help when and wherever he could.
“We will miss him terribly. A great man with an even greater heart.”