Swadlincote sandwich shop staff have paid a moving tribute to a teenager who became their favourite customer before he suddenly died aged 17.

James Howland regularly ate at the Pipeways Subway store - and staff grew to love him so much they would fight over who would serve him.

After contributing £500 towards James' funeral costs, shop manager Rishi Bajaj said the Midway lad would always brighten up his day when he popped in for his favourite sub.

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The 28-year-old said: "He's been my customer since we first opened in 2012. He had been coming for five and a half years and still ate the same thing - a six-inch turkey sub.

"No matter what, he would always come up to the counter after he had finished his meal to say goodbye to us.

"There are some customers the staff want to serve and James was one of them.

"When everyone saw him coming into the shop, they would fight in the back about who would get to serve him. He was a real pleasure to serve."

James died when he was 17

James' mum, Linda Whyatt, found him dead in his bedroom in November. An inquest is due to take place to determine how he died.

His family held his funeral at St John's Church, in Newhall, last month, but was struggling to pay the £3,800 bill.

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Subway was one of several Swadlincote businesses to donate cash to make up the shortfall.

And Linda recently visited the eatery so staff could present her with a £500 cheque.

Charlotte Hunt, left, and Rishi Bajaj, right, presented Linda Whyatt, middle, with a £500 cheque

She admitted she was not initially keen on the idea to visit the store - it was a place she used to go with James and she was nervous about being there without him.

But, after spending an hour chatting to staff and sharing stories about her son, she said she was glad to have gone and was extremely grateful for the donation from the organisation.

Rishi said: "We just wanted to help the family out. For his mum to have to deal with the death of her son and then have this big bill for his funeral, its unimaginable how hard it must be.

"It was a really nice experience to meet with her and talk about James."