Nearly £6,000 has been raised in a matter of days to help repatriate to Romania, or cover funeral expenses in this country, of two men who died in a crash in Uckfield at the weekend.
The men, Cristian and Adrian, were highly-regarded chefs at the Pig and Butcher at Five Ash Down and tonight the pub is pulling out all the stops to boost the fund-raising by holding a special event which all are invited to attend.
Landlord David Gardner has already set up a JustGiving page to raise £14,000 to cover repatriation costs or funeral expenses.
David says on the page: “We would like to be able to help them with this cost. These men were so much more than chefs, not just to us but many of you as well.
“These guys were friends to many throughout the community and were like family to those that have worked with them.
“So please let’s all show their families how much they meant to everybody here and donate whatever you can afford to get them home.”
Barbecue on Saturday
Tonight a barbecue will be served at the Pig and Butcher from 6pm. People are contributing cakes, and there will be music and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. Any more donations will be welcome.
All the money raised from food sales will go into the fund-raising pot along with raffle proceeds.
From an Uckfield News story on Tuesday: David said he and his wife Karen were devastated by the loss of the two men who were dear friends, almost family, and much more to them than employees.
He said their loss was “catastrophic” for the business too. The pub relies on its food trade and that was built around Cristian and Adrian, who joined the Gardners at the Ringles Cross before moving with them to the Pig and Butcher.
The chefs had previously worked together at The Lamb, Piltdown; The Bull, Newick, and at an hotel in Lewes.
David said it was imperative they were able to start serving food at the Pig and Butcher again quickly but it was difficult to find the will to do that while they were upset to have lost Cristian and Adrian so suddenly.
David issued an open invitation to people to turn out on Saturday night and come to the Pig and Butcher to remember the chefs and help their families.
He said Adrian’s wife, who is in Romania, could not afford to repatriate his body and Cristian’s wife, who lives in Lewes, can neither afford to repatriate his body, nor pay for a funeral here so both families are in need of help.
Candles flickered yesterday next to flowers laid in memory of the two men at the site of the crash which happened at about 11pm on Saturday night at Coopers Green.
Cristian and Adrian were on their way back to the Pig and Butcher after joining a local they knew at the Ringles Cross who was celebrating his recent retirement.
David and Karen, who were at the Ringles Cross too were worried about them after hearing about the accident and learning their colleagues had not reached the Pig and Butcher.
They set out to find them and were told that the car involved in the accident was indeed the one carrying their friends and that they had not survived.
“It is very difficult to come to terms with that, and a lot of other people feel the same way,” said David. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing as people have heard the devastating news.”
Police are trying to establish the circumstances of how the car came to leave the road and have asked anyone who has information to email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 101 quoting Operation Annescroft.