Southampton FC's tribute to 'cherished member of football family' who drowned at Bournemouth beach

Joe Abbess worked on match days for Southampton Football Club's hospitality and catering partner. Credit: Dorset Police/ITV Meridian

Southampton Football Club has paid tribute to a 17-year-old chef who drowned at Bournemouth beach last week, describing him as a 'cherished member of our football family'.

Joe Abbess was one of ten people who got into difficulty at the beach on Wednesday (31 May).

The 17-year-old, and 12-year-old Sunnah Khan were taken to hospital but died a short time later from their injuries.

An inquest into their deaths heard on Monday they died of drowning following "suggestion" they got caught in a riptide.

17-year-old Joe Abbess worked for Southampton FC's hospitality and catering partner.

Posting on its website, a spokesperson for Saints' said: "We’re extremely saddened to hear the news of the tragic passing of Joe Abbess.

"Joe was not only a valued employee of Gather & Gather, the club’s hospitality and catering partner, but a cherished member of our football family here at the club.

"For more than a year, Joe, who was a trainee chef, had worked across the club on match days and was a popular colleague amongst all staff. 

"The thoughts of everyone associated with both the club and Gather & Gather are with Joe’s family and friends at this difficult time."

Joe's family paid tribute to a "wonderful son and brother" over the weekend.

They said: "We are heartbroken and devastated at the death of our Joe. He was a wonderful son and brother who is sadly missed.

"His family and friends will always love him and we are incredibly proud of the fabulous young man he was. He was kind and generous, loving and caring, hardworking and funny.

"Joe was a talented trainee chef, with a bright future ahead of him. We were privileged to have him in our lives for 17 years and we are so sorry he will never fulfil his dreams and ambitions.

"He was enjoying a day at the beach on Wednesday and we would like to thank his friends and all of the emergency services who helped him, when this tragedy unfolded."

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