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Friends pay tribute to ‘humble and fun’ chef

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Road crash victim Randy Santelices has been remembered for his talent and humility.

The 34-year-old chef lost control of his motorcycle and hit the Birdcage traffic control landmark on Front Street at about 1.20am on Thursday. He had been travelling home to Pembroke after a night out socialising.

He was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital but died at 6.12pm the same day. He leaves behind a wife and two young children in the Philippines and his death marks the first road fatality of 2016.

The Manila native had worked at Little Venice on Bermudiana Road in Hamilton since 2009.

Danny Lim, executive chef at the restaurant, visited his friend in hospital after the accident.

“Everybody's shocked right now that he's gone. Everybody's down,” Mr Lim told The Royal Gazette. “He was a humble, fun guy to work with and a very good chef — an all-rounder.”

With his widow's blessing, the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda is planning a remembrance service here before Mr Santelices is flown home to the Philippines.

“We've been in contact with his wife, who has been very upset as this was totally unexpected,” said Dale Butler, the director of training, leadership and communications at MEF Group, which operates Little Venice.

Mr Butler described Mr Santelices as a keen volleyball player who was “very highly thought of and extremely friendly”.

“He was a part of the Little Venice family,” he said.

“Our entire staff are somewhat depressed and we're attempting to get some professional counselling for them.”

Auditor Avelino Bagnes described Mr Santelices, also known as “Panang”, as “a very good friend who will be sorely missed”.

“I remember our lunch sessions together at the Par-la-Ville Park,” he said. “He would normally bring me a lobster salad, which he personally made, in exchange for instant noodles and a piece of sausage that I packed for lunch. He was a very simple, thoughtful and caring man.”

Rowena Comber, president of the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda, said the community was “in shock” over the sudden loss of one of its members. She added: “Randy made many friends in Bermuda and we know him to be a kind-hearted, gentle person who would go the extra mile to help a friend.

“He touched the lives of many with his humility, thoughtfulness, and loyalty. We feel for his wife and two children in the Philippines, who we are in contact with during this very difficult time.”

A spokeswoman for the Corporation of Hamilton confirmed that the Birdcage was under repair, and offered condolences.

A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said that a full investigation was under way, and asked for anyone with any information to call 295-0011.

Honouring victim: flowers were left at the Birdcage yesterday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Talented chef: Randy Santelices was a much loved member of the team at Little Venice
Thoughtful and caring: popular chef Randy Santelices, second right, with some of his volleyball team-mates (Photograph supplied)
Touching tribute: flowers left at the Birdcage yesterday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published February 27, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated February 27, 2016 at 7:36 am)

Friends pay tribute to ‘humble and fun’ chef

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