TRIBUTES have been paid to a much- loved primary school teacher who has died from cancer.
His former pupils have described him as a teacher whose teaching continues to inspire them and helped them achieve their dreams.
Having lived with cancer for six years, Ste was admitted to St Leonard’s Hospice last December where he was granted a final wish to leave a musical legacy and to record a CD with his band.
His wife, Helen, said: “Ste had no idea what an amazing person he was. He simply tried his best to live life to the full, with integrity and love. Unlike many of us who hope to do this, he actually did it. He made the world a better place. I will miss his beautiful voice, his unconditional love, his quiet determination, his fiery conviction of what’s right. The wonderful thing is that throughout our 23 years together, through his love and support, he has made me a little bit like him. He’s made me strong. He gave me faith, hope and love every day of our lives and that will never go away.”
Ste worked at Fishergate Primary School at the start of his teaching career, before moving to Naburn, and was a local councillor and a member of the Green Party.
Helen said she and her husband had been moved to hear from many of his former pupils in recent months.
One of his former pupils, Lucy Mulvihill, said “Mr K” was the most passionate and talented teacher” she had known throughout her education from primary school to Masters Degree level.
She said: “My most fond memory of Mr K was his ‘Sam Stories’. Sam was a fictional character of Mr K’s own creation. We would hear of his adventures, what he learned and who he met along the way. “ “The optimism and hard work that I learned from Mr K has helped me get to the place I am today and I will be forever grateful to him for that...the influence he had on his pupils will remain with us.”
Brought up in Runcorn, Ste was the youngest of three children for parents Doreen and Ron. He had older sisters, Marion and Lisa.
Ste embarked on a University of York course in biology with education in the 1980s.
He performed in York with band Beyond The Pale in the early 1990s and was involved in musical theatre productions with York Light and New Earswick Musical Society. He later performed with band Ostler’s Dog.
Recently, Ste worked with his best friend Mark Huxham on Mikoko Pamoja - a scheme enabling a Kenyan community to sell carbon credits in return for preserving a highly valuable mangrove ecosystem. He was delighted to find that the village used its first income from the scheme to buy textbooks for their local school.
Helen said he passed away on “a beautiful sunny afternoon” on July 2, surrounded by family and friends.
She said: “He will be remembered for his contribution to his local community, to the arts, to scholarship, to the future of the earth - but most of all for his kindness. He always had time for people, however ill, tired or busy he was.
• A memorial gig will be held in the autumn. Ste’s final CD with Ostler’s Dog, which is in aid of York Hospital’s Cancer Care Unit and St Leonard’s Hospice, will be launched at the event.