The mother of popular Prezzo waiter Kevin Wilcox, who died suddenly in February, has thanked the people of Bury St Edmunds for their messages of sympathy.
Kevin, who in 2014 won the first Customer Service Award in the annual Bury Free Press Business Awards, was so popular with customers that news of his death sparked an outpouring of grief on social media and in messages to the Abbeygate Street restaurant.
People posted recollections of how he treated customers as friends and entertained their children. The Bury Free Press’ web story on his death was visited by 18,000 people in two days.
On Tuesday his 79-year-old mother Dot Wilcox called the BFP from her home in North Ormesby, Middlesborough, because Prezzo staff attending his funeral had brought customers’ messages and cards, plus a book of condolence.
Dot said: “I want to thank all the people of Bury, the customers, for all the nice things they said about him.
“I can’t write to them all – I don’t know where they are. It’s amazing. It was so surprising and I couldn’t believe some of the things they said.
“I didn’t know he did all these things down there – it’s like I didn’t know my own son.”
She added, proudly: “I always taught him to be good to all people and it paid off.”
A memorial event has been organised by Kevin’s best friend Westley Middle School head Nick Templeton, who grew up in the same street and went to the same schools. Kevin, who came to Bury eight years ago, was his best man.
It will be at Oakes Barn, St Andrews Street South, Bury on May 1 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, with a book of condolence and a video booth for people to record tributes.
Nick said: “This is a celebration. He was the life and soul of the party so he wouldn’t want anyone to be miserable.”
Oakes Barn was offered free by joint landlady Heather Warren who said: “My family were regulars at Prezzo and he was always wonderful.”