THE FAMILY of a footballer killed in a crash outside a pub near Ledbury have paid tribute to the ‘hugely popular’ man.
Jonathan Stuart Palmer lost his life when leaving work at the Duke of York pub in Berrow on the A438 on his bike at around 1.50am on Monday (October 28).
As he rode off, he was involved in a collision with a green Audi Cabriolet which was also leaving the ground.
He was declared deceased at the scene and a 34-year-old was arrested later that day on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
The 21-year-old’s family said: “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 played for Abbeymead Rovers in Gloucester before being invited to join the West Bromwich Albion Academy aged nine and moving on to the Gloucester City Youth team aged 15.
A serious knee injury prevented him from playing for two years but after rehabilitation he began playing again, joining Hanley Swan FC.
“Although having set his sights on a career in football, Jonathan proved to also 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.”
Inspector Julian Smith from West Mercia Police, who is leading the investigation, added: “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 that night.
“If anyone was passing the pub on the A438 in the small hours of Monday morning and may have seen the Audi and the bike leaving, then please get in touch.”
Anyone with any information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.