Type=image;ImageID=3314;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Mourners attending the service;TitleClass=strong; Type=image;ImageID=3315;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Flowers at the service;TitleClass=strong; Type=image;ImageID=3316;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Flowers from Steve's family;TitleClass=strong;More than a 1,000 mourners attended a fitting celebration and thanksgiving service, at the Civic Hall today (Monday 3 February) for 'the man from the Council'.
Steve, a former Buildings Maintenance section leader, member of the Civic Hall management team and keen magician and comedian, sadly passed away last month aged 52 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Steve captured the hearts of the nation when he shared his story of living with incurable cancer, which saw him featured on a host of national and regional news channels.
Joining his family and close friends for the service were TV and radio personalities Richard Bacon, Comedy Dave from Radio One and Frank Skinner, who gave an emotional speech packed with funny tales about his pal of 25 years.
Also in attendance were the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Milkinder Jaspal, Wolverhampton City Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence and deputy leader Councillor Peter Bilson.
The service was led by Minister Joan Winterbottom, who married Steve and wife Septina at Old Fallings United Reformed Church, and also featured speeches, hymns, a magic performance and a 'Ceremony of the Broken Wand' performed by the International Brotherhood of Magicians - of which Steve was a member.
Frank, who met Steve in 1988 and started touring the comedy circuit with him, had mourners laughing with a host of stories about him. These included tough gigs at the Edinburgh Fringe, the time Steve surveyed a house Frank was looking to buy and Steve's insistence on telling him how holograms worked.
He said: "Steve was a talker! He was also a man of great intelligence and was much more intelligent than he looked. 'Evo' always had a passion for something and he was a very thorough man."
Fighting back tears, he added: "He was such an amazing guy. He should have been on the honours list because of what he had done for the last 2 years. I told him he was unique. I know everyone is unique, but Steve was more unique than everyone else."
John Price, Steve's best friend of 40 years, said: "He was much more than the 'man from the council' and I had some amazing times with him. I'm going to miss him very much."
Steve's family and close friends attended a private service at Bushbury Crematorium before returning to the Civic Hall for the wake.
Steve's friend Sue Oakley set up a fund in his memory, in aid of Compton Hospice, which has already raised more than £12,000.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the fund can do so at Type=links;Linkid=3161;Title=Just Giving;Target=_blank;.
- released: Monday 3 February, 2014