THE city has reacted with shock over the death of a generous restaurateur and prominent charity fundraiser.

Sue Addis ran Donatello’s Italian restaurant in The Lanes and the Pinocchio restaurant in New Road.

The body of the 69-year-old mother and grandmother was found at her home in Withdean on Thursday night.

Police launched a murder inquiry and a 17-year-old boy known to her was arrested on suspicion of murder.

She was known as a prominent fundraiser for charities in the city, including for The Argus Appeal, and her businesses supported numerous charities and public events.

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Brighton councillor and former city mayor Dee Simson was among those who gave an emotional tribute.

She said: “I’m just so shocked, I can’t believe it.

“Sue was such a wonderful person who did so much for this city. I worked with her for charities as mayor and she was a real community person. Nobody could say a bad word about her.

“She is a great loss to this city.”

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Former Brighton and Hove Buses managing director Roger French was among business figures to express their shock.

He said: “It’s absolutely devastating news. Sue was one of the most kind hearted and generous people I had the pleasure of working with.

“She always wanted to help people in need and as a business person she was one of the most community and charity-minded people in the city - if not the most. A terrible and tragic loss. I’m totally shocked.”

Current managing director Martin Harris said: "The whole team here would like to pay tribute to Sue's wide-ranging work for and generosity towards community and charity initiatives across the city.

"She will be very sadly missed by many in our community."

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Hove and Portslade Labour MP Peter Kyle described Sue as “formidable, warm and unbelievably generous” who was always welcoming and fun.

He said: “There are so many people’s lives who have been touched by her generosity. She was a powerhouse for social causes and for positive change in the city.”

The MP praised her for her “tolerance and decency” in the way she created restaurants that were safe places for all.

He added: “She didn’t have a big ego, she just wanted to get things done, and that made her gold dust. She gave to our city and her businesses gave so much pleasure to so many people. It is really devastating.”

Sue hosted numerous charity events which included Albion stars, actors like Billy Nighy and Rik Mayall, and celebrities like Katie Price.

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Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said Sue had also hosted major figures in the political world including union general secretaries, and former Labour Party leaders Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

He said: “We used the restaurants on numerous occasions for events and she was always extremely generous.

“She has hosted leaders and Prime Ministers, and was a great supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

“It is greatly saddening to hear this news.”

Former BBC newsreader and Argus Appeal patron Nicholas Owen worked with Sue on charity fundraising.

He said: "I am absolutely appalled to hear that Sue has died, and it seems in such dreadful circumstances.

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"I was privileged to know her well in my role as Patron of the old Argus Appeal, for which she did so much good work.

"For more than 20 years, the charity benefited hugely from her support.

"Her always wise contributions as a trustee were vital in deciding which local people and activities should benefit from the Appeal’s funds.

"And she was always ready to have her lovely restaurant Donatello’s used as a venue when we wanted to bring other supporters together.

"A lady of great heart, who will be so very sadly missed."

Leave your tribute to Sue Addis: Book of condolence for Brighton restaurant bo ss

Former Brighton and Hove City Council leader Dan Yates said: "Sue was such an integral part of the city’s lifeblood.

"Her work supporting the business community and our communities as a whole will never be forgotten.

"My love and deepest condolences to the whole family and all of her friends and colleagues."

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas added her tribute. She said: "I’m so shocked and saddened by this terrible news.  

"Sue was an amazing figure, a really successful business woman who also did brilliant work with local charities like the Extra Time Project for children struggling in secondary schools, as well as being immensely generous and kind.  

The Argus: Sue Addis died at her home in Withdean, BrightonSue Addis died at her home in Withdean, Brighton

"She was also well known for her sponsorship of the arts.   

"She was a towering presence in our city, she cared passionately about it and was wonderful at bringing people together.  

"She will be hugely missed.  My thoughts are with all who knew and loved her."

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear the news of the death of Sue Addis.

"I worked closely with Sue on the new Hannington Lane entrance to the Lanes and her passion for the city was clear as she took an active role promoting tourism and economic regeneration.

"Sue was very generous with her time for charitable organisations in the city and will be sadly missed.”   

Former Conservative council leader Geoffrey Theobald said: "Sue was always at the forefront of charities, and she has touched the lives of so many people.

"As a business owner she turned Donatello's into a great success and was very dynamic with her family.

"The news is just unbelievable."

His wife and current Patcham councillor Carole Theobald said: "Sue was a wonderful person. I can't really believe that this has happened.

"When I was mayor in the city she did so much to support my charities. She could never do enough and was so kind." 

The Labour Party group of councillors on the city council issued a statement.
On behalf of the group Nancy Platts said: "It is with great shock and sadness that we have learnt of the death of Sue Addis.  

The Argus: The scene at Donatellos in The Lanes, Brighton, todayThe scene at Donatellos in The Lanes, Brighton, today

"Sue was a lovely woman who was always so welcoming and for whom nothing was too much trouble.  

"She hosted us for many events ensuring everyone had the best of Italian food and hospitality.  

"She was an inspiring businesswoman and her restaurant at the centre of our city is also at the centre of our community; an inclusive and vibrant place that truly reflects the very essence of Brighton and Hove.

"Sue raised thousands of pounds for charities and contributed to many good causes over the years.  

"She will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends who must be heartbroken."

Meanwhile Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said: “Sue Addis was one of the kindest and most generous women I have ever met. 

"I am deeply shocked. Over many years she supported a range of charitable causes including homelessness services including, for the last decade, Brighton Housing Trust.

 “She was a regular at our fundraising events and was always incredibly generous with her time, ideas and money.

"She never held back from speaking her mind, but always quietly and in such a supportive way.  

 “I served with her on several Mayors’ charity committees and she was a driving force behind some of the most successful years.

 “Sue’s family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.”