Tributes pour in for 'brilliant, genuine, and inspiring' Southampton teenager

A floral tribute left on Bournemouth Beach. INSET: Joe Abbess <i>(Image: Newsquest/Dorset Police)</i>
A floral tribute left on Bournemouth Beach. INSET: Joe Abbess (Image: Newsquest/Dorset Police)

TRIBUTES have poured in for Joe Abbess, a "brilliant, genuine, and inspiring" Southampton teenager who died at Bournemouth beach.

The 17-year-old passed away in hospital following an incident in the water near Bournemouth Pier on Wednesday, May 31.

After he was named by Dorset Police on Sunday evening, Joe's family were the first to pay tribute to him, describing him as "a wonderful son and brother" in a statement.

READ MORE: Family pay heartfelt tribute to 17-year-old who died in Bournemouth beach tragedy

They said: "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."

The teenager worked at Southampton Football Club on matchdays as a kitchen porter and was an aspiring chef, employed by the club’s catering and hospitality partner Gather & Gather.

Describing him as a 'popular colleague amongst all staff', the club said: “Joe was not only a valued employee of Gather & Gather but a cherished member of our football family here at the club.

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

The Gantry Youth Theatre, based in Bitterne Park School, also sent their wishes to the family in a post on Facebook.

It said: "The Gantry Youth Theatre family are saddened that our dedicated office manager, Ness Abbess, and her family, Pete and Luke, are grieving the sudden loss of their 17 year old son and brother, Joe.

"Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.

"Ness and her family have been a huge part of the Gantry family for many years, our hearts are broken for them as they navigate this difficult time."

Sunnah Khan, 12, from High Wycombe, also died during the tragedy last week.

She was laid to rest on Saturday.

The pair were not known to each other.

A man in his 40s who was on the water at the time was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but has since been released under investigation.

A pleasure boat, The Dorset Belle, was also impounded by police as part of their investigation but the scene guard has since left the area.

The Daily Echo has opened a book of condolence for Southampton residents to pay their respects to Joe.

Tributes have flooded in from across the community, with people describing Joe as a "brilliant, genuine and inspiring" person.