The funeral of former St Neots man Stephen Bayless - described by family and friends as a “skateboard fanatic” - was held in Norfolk last week.
More than 350 people attended the service at St Mary’s Church in Happisburgh, on May 31, including skateboard enthusiasts and friends from St Neots, Huntingdon, and St Ives, many of whom formed an arch with their skateboards as Stephen’s coffin was brought into church.
Stephen, aged 42, who died suddenly at his home in Happisburgh on April 24 after suffering an aortic aneurysm, was a prominent and active member of the UK skateboarding scene and heavily involved in the development of the skateboard park at the Riverside Park, in St Neots.
A founder member of St Neots Pirates, he campaigned and raised funds for the provision of the original skateboard ramp in St Neots Riverside Park.
“Stephen’s efforts have left the town with a facility, which is not only one of the best in the country but also without charge to those who use it, a unique situation of which St Neots can be justifiably proud,” said Stephen’s family in a statement provided to The Hunts Post.
“Stephen’s passing has been marked by hundreds of messages of condolence on his Facebook page and that of a national skateboarding group Fouks, from friends and top skaters in the country with tales of his tireless support for others, not only in this country but from as far as the US and Australia.
“We would like to thank the many friends and acquaintances of Stephen who came to Happisburgh to attend his funeral and who also sent us cards following his sudden and untimely death. According to the vicar, it was the largest number of people she had known for any occasion in her church.”
Stephen attended Priory infant and junior schools before moving on to Longsands Secondary School where his love of skateboarding began. He was a highly skilled engineer who worked as a welder, the proud father of two girls, Darcy and Violet, and a devoted husband to Nicola who he met when she worked at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. A memorial skate jam is being planned at the skatepark in St Neots in the summer and a plaque will be unveiled in Stephen’s memory.
Stephen also leaves parents, Peter and Linda, and sister Julie Tsang.