Tributes have been paid to an Exmouth man who died in a car crash on Christmas Eve.

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Obie Ebanks, 59, of Exeter Road, died when his car was in a head-on collison with a lorry on the A30 near Honiton. He had been travelling alone.

The road was closed for 10 hours while emergency services dealt with the incident.

Mr Ebanks was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver of the lorry suffered minor injuries.

Formerly of Leytonstone in East London, Mr Ebanks moved to Exmouth around two and a half years ago.

A keen chess player, one of his first acts on moving to the town was to join Exmouth Chess Club, and club secretary Bob Jones, who became a friend, said he would be much missed.

Bob said: “It was quite a shock.

“Although he’d only been here for two and a half years, he was a very outgoing person, and a lot of people got to know him.”

Bob said Mr Ebanks had been described as cheerful, ebullient and effervescent.

“If I went into town at any time, he’d be the one person I’d bump into.

“He was good company, and will be much missed.”

Mr Ebanks, who was divorced, leaves two sons, Obie and Levy, and two grandchildren.

He is survived by his mother, and by his two brothers and two sisters.

He had recently started working as a hospital car driver for the South West Ambulance Service, although it is not known if he was on duty at the time of his accident.

As well as chess, Mr Ebanks also had a keen interest in boxing, and was a former member of Repton Boxing Club with a promising amateur career, winning his first 20 fights before retiring after losing his 21st.

● His funeral will be held at the Devon and Exeter Crematorium on January 10 at 2pm.

Floral tributes should be sent to Exeter and District Funeral Directors, 210 Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 6AA.

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