The family of a man who sadly died in a crash on the A24 near Southwater have paid tribute to their “kind-hearted” son and are “truly humbled” by the outpouring of love for him.
Callum Chapman, 24, from Southwater, was a passenger in a car involved in the collision on Sunday (6 December).
His mum Jillie Slope said: “Callum struggled with mental health in the last four years and together with his ADHD diagnosis and autism he was very misunderstood.
“The two weeks before his death his life had just started to turn a corner – he had been working with a close friend on a few jobs and he was then offered a full time position. He was amazingly happy that someone had faith and trust in him. His recent car purchase brought so much joy to him, he was seeing all his friends and starting to enjoy his life again.
“He loved metal detecting with one of his close friends. He was so passionate about it and had many interesting and rare old finds, getting him on the front of a detecting magazine and messages from detecting groups. He loved history and would love enriching our lives with historical facts, places and buildings we passed or visited.
“Cars have always been a massive interest from being small. He started with motorbikes, riding with his close friends and eventually getting a car. He would love going to shows, Goodwood, drive-bys and obviously being a passenger in supercars like Ferraris, McLarens. He was an official photographer for Sussex Ferrari during the 2016 Horsham Piazza Italia and thoroughly enjoyed going to all of them. He used to spend lots of Saturdays and Sundays with close friends up in London supercar spotting until eventually his mental health declined.
“Callum was a kind-hearted, polite, emotional, honest, friendly young man who helped so many of his peers at school when they were being bullied, even if he didn’t know them. He didn’t enjoy school at all as he struggled to interact with teachers and they to him.
“He always loved animals from spiders, guinea pigs, hamsters to reptiles, fish and dogs but had a special place in his heart for cows – he had a real connection with them. He was always asking me for a pet black cow.
“His sister Madi Chapman, step sister Kerrie Slope, step-dad Jason Slope and I are blown away by the messages, cards and Facebook posts from people whose lives he had touched – even in the smallest way. Tributes saying he was inspirational, kind-hearted, polite, helpful and unique. The lasting impression being his humour and his amazing laugh. He always brought light into a room with that humour and laugh.
“Callum never believed he was well liked, only by those closest to him, but he would be totally amazed at the outpouring of love for him. We are all so unbelievably proud of him.
“He left us doing something he loved – being in a car. I know he is causing havoc wherever he is now.
“We are all totally devastated at a bright shining beacon being put out too soon. All of his family and closest friends would like to thank each and every one who has messaged. We are truly humbled.”
Police, ambulance and fire crews were called to the scene on the A24 at 1.25pm to reports of a Lexus car crashing into a tree.
Tragically, it was confirmed that 24-year-old Callum died in the collision.
A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed while enquiries are ongoing.
A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been released under investigation.
A 20-year-old man was also arrested and was subsequently released without charge.
Anyone with information is asked to report online or call 101, quoting Operation Hampstead.