TRIBUTES have been paid to an “incredible” A and E medic with a “big smile and enormous heart” who has died.

Tristam Bradley, who worked at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, died on July 21 after a “long struggle with mental health”, a friend said.

The 45-year-old had also worked for some of the biggest chilli companies in the UK – including Chilli Pepper Pete, Mr Vikki’s and Brighton-based Burning Desire Foods.

The Argus: Tristam Bradley. Photo credit: Jason StevensTristam Bradley. Photo credit: Jason Stevens

Jason Stevens, director of Burning Desire Foods, said he has “struggled to come to terms” with the death of his close friend and colleague.

He said: “I met Tristam about ten years ago when he was working for a different chilli company and we both met doing chilli festivals.

“We would travel to festivals so for the last six years we’ve right across the country together.

“We’ve grown closer and closer over the years, and I’ve known he’s had his struggles, so it was always a bit of support when we could do events together, and we’d help each other out.

The Argus: Tristam at the Firey Foods festival in 2019 with his colleague Owen WilliamsTristam at the Firey Foods festival in 2019 with his colleague Owen Williams

“We’ve got a lot of the same friends, so this hit the chilli industry quite heavily because everyone loved him.”

Jason, who lives in Worthing, told The Argus he will remember Tristam as a “larger than life character” who people “loved to be around”.

He added: “He was always seen with a big smile and a mischievous look in his eye.

“He was always in a good mood, and I never saw him at an event when he was upset. He was always full of beans and would have a joke with customers and traders.

“Everyone seemed to love him, and he was a great salesman.”

A fundraiser set up by friends to support Tristam’s family, and his young son Finlay, has raised more than £1,000.

Jason said the outpouring of grief after Tristam’s death is a “testament to his character”.

He said: “He was an incredible, helpful person. He would help anybody.

“He had time for everybody and if something happened, he would be the first person on the phone to see if you were okay.

“I think that’s another reason why it’s such a painful thing because somebody who was always there for everyone, isn’t there anymore.

“I saw him just three weeks before he died, and I’ve had moments since thinking ‘this can’t be real’.

“It’s surreal to think I won’t ever see him again and it’s just so sad.”

A charity collection in memory of Tristam is set to take place at The Fiery Foods Festival at The Level, Brighton on Friday, 3 September to Sunday, 5 September.

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