A 20-YEAR-OLD former Longsands college pupil who died in a single-vehicle road accident in Essex last week has been remembered by teachers as “adaptable and reliable” and as “a promising talent” by his boss.

Liam Montana was just two weeks into a new job as a chef in Saffron Walden when the accident happened on his way home from work.

The youngster was “a popular member of the team” who had a promising career ahead of him, according to his boss at the Eight Bells in Bridge Street, Saffron Walden,

Manager of the Eight Bells Kris Borg said: “Liam was here for only two weeks but he was an integral part of the team. He was a nice guy and good to work with.

“He enjoyed his cooking, put in a lot of effort and was a promising talent. He would have been a key player in our kitchen.”

He added: “Liam's death has come as a real shock and he will be sorely missed. We really feel for his family and our thoughts go out to them.”

It is understood that Mr Montana had moved to Steventon End in Ashdon only recently to live with his father.

Robert Whatmough, executive principal at Longsands College, said: “Liam is remembered by staff as a very cheerful and friendly young man. One of his teachers recalls visiting him on work experience where he showed himself to be very adaptable and reliable.”

His former head added: “We are very saddened by what has happened. Our sympathy goes to his sister, Emma, who also attended Longsands College and to all other members of his family.”

Liam, who grew up in St Neots, left Longsands at the end of Year 11 to go to Cambridge Regional College.

His tutor at Cambridge Regional College, Phil Vincent, said he had been an outstanding student.

“Liam was at the college for three years and was part of an outstanding group of students on the Level 3 advanced professional chef's course,” he said.

“He was a great guy, willing to help others and very hard-working. He was a popular student and made lots of friends when he was here. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, and our thoughts are with his family.”

The young chef was driving his blue Ford Fiesta along Springwell Road in Saffron Walden when the accident happened on Friday.

A police spokesman said the vehicle had collided with a tree and overturned. No other vehicle was involved.

Firefighters used two sets of specialist cutting equipment and two airbags to release the victim, who was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where he died later.

INFORMATION: Anyone with information about the incident - which happened at around 11.40pm on Friday (January 28) - should contact Essex Police's central road policing unit on 0300 333 4444.