Sussex family pay tribute to popular son, 29, who tragically died after fire

The family of a young man who tragically died after a fire at his flat in Sussex say they have been overwhelmed by the ‘the outpouring of love and affection’ from people who knew him.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 1:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 2:02 pm

Joseph Arnold was rescued from a fire at his flat in Spences Lane, Lewes, in the early hours of last Monday (January 27).

The 29-year-old was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where he tragically died from his injuries.

His parents, David and Barbara Arnold, said this week that in the wake of the tragedy they had come to discover how popular and well-liked their youngest son, Joe, was.

Joe Arnold tragically died following a fire at his flat in Lewes. Picture courtesy of family

“At a time of such a terrible tragedy, it has given us enormous comfort,” said David.

“We have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and affection for our youngest son, who was fatally injured in an incident in his flat in Spences Lane, Lewes, last month.

“We have received over 100 cards and letters from people expressing their regret and grief at Joe’s passing and sending us their condolences.

“We’ve also received a host of bouquets and over the last week or so have been so pleased to welcome a steady stream of visitors not to mention phone calls.

Joe Arnold at his sister's wedding. Picture courtesy of family

“Joe’s older brother James has set up a tribute to his sibling on Facebook and it has quickly filled up with a mass of wonderful postings.

“Joe always had plenty of friends but we never realised just how many.

“His colleagues at Lewes District Council where Joe worked in Environmental Health have also been so supportive and have greatly helped us get through this very difficult time.”

Joe was born on May 6, 1990, and went to St Pancras Catholic Primary School in Lewes for his early education before going on to Priory School.

Joe tragically died in hospital following the fire at his flat in Spences Lane, Lewes. Picture: Peter Cripps

He displayed great sporting prowess and was an excellent runner, his parents said, with football being his favourite game.

As a youngster, he played for Ivan Peck’s Bridge View side. Later he joined Peacehaven’s junior team and also played for Plumpton. More recently, he played football for the Tally Ho.

Last autumn, Joe was diagnosed with cancer, his parents said. He was successfully treated with surgery and chemotherapy. His Tally Ho teammates, along with friends and family, raised around £1,000 for a cancer charity, an achievement Joe was very proud of.

Joe’s father, David, who for the past six years has written a column on local history for our sister paper, the Sussex Express, thanked the emergency services who got Joe to hospital as quickly as possible.

“The doctors and ward staff at Brighton were superb in helping us cope with an awful situation,” he commented.

Joe died at just before 5pm last Monday (January 27). His family were at his bedside.

His funeral is expected to take place towards the end of February, David said.

This weekend, all Sussex Sunday League matches will be holding a minute’s silence in memory of him.

David said: “The tribute to Joe coincides with a campaign by the mental charity Mind that’s called ‘Have Your Mate’s Back’.

“The Sussex Sunday Football League have asked all teams to take a photo before the game with their shirts back to front and to post on social media.”