There was nothing that Matt Richardson loved more than cars. His life revolved around admiring them, repairing them at the garage where he worked with his brother and father, watching races and driving his Ford Galaxie.

Now a car show he organised will become a memorial for the 25-year-old, who died after a crash in bad weather late last Thursday.

The former Epping St John’s School pupil’s Mercedes left the road and hit a willow tree on a bend in Chelmsford Road, Hatfield Heath, at around 11.10pm.

Two friends were following in a car close behind, and cared for him as he was dying, immediately calling his girlfriend and family, who rushed to the scene.

His girlfriend Becky Painter was able to reach him, but Mr Richardson died before ambulance crews arrived.

His mother Maria Richardson, of School Green Lane, North Weald, described him as “a kind, gentle soul, the best son ever”.

She said his fascination with cars was entwined with his love for his friends and family. Mr Richardson worked in a garage with his father Ricky and Mrs Richardson described them as “two peas in a pod.”

Mrs Richardson said she had taken comfort after speaking to a medium, who saw Matt signalling his family with a thumbs up.

Ms Richardson says she knew it was her son reaching out as she explained that any photo of Matt would show him with his iconic thumbs up and a cheeky grin on his face.

Epping Forest Guardian: Matt Richardson in his Ford GalaxieMatt Richardson in his Ford Galaxie

The signature pose was only one element of his charm, something which won the attention of his girlfriend Becky Painter.

Matt and his girlfriend had conflicting stories of how they met, Mr Richardson always claimed that they met when Ms Painter served him at a fish and chip shop, but Ms Painter remembers their first encounter being later - at New Year’s Eve in 2016.

Ms Painter said: “Apparently he would see me behind the till and used to say to others that he’d win me over one day.

“He was an incredible person, he’d be there for you whenever you needed him, he always put other people first, nothing ever mattered – he’d put anyone else first over himself and be there for you.”

Mr Richardson was an organiser of the Squadron Scramble cars and coffee meet at North Weald Airfield. He had set up a forthcoming meet on August 25, and Ms Painter is now calling for people to attend the event in his memory.

Mr Richardson leaves his brother Mark, mother Maria and father Ricky.

His funeral will take place at GreenAcres Cemetery and Ceremonial Park on September 6. Everyone is welcome.