A much loved and respected quiet powerhouse of the Waltham Chase Aeromodellers and Southern Area BMFA died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Saturday 1st April 2017. His early career as engineering officer in the boiler rooms full of asbestos on cargo vessels had ultimately taken its toll.
Steve was one of the founder members of the Waltham Chase Aeromodellers Club which was formed in 1975 rising to become its president after many stalwart years as secretary.
Although a novice when the club was formed he soon became a leading light organising gliding competitions, teaching beginners, getting bits of club equipment manufactured and generally keeping us in order with the production of immaculate minutes and agendas for the annual meetings. He was selfless in his work for the club and was never afraid to get his hands dirty, he would often spend long hours helping the farmer repair his machinery or help clear the flying fields’ land drains or would be fixing or driving the club mower. Despite his long and tiring daily commute he never failed to offer to drive a few club mates to modelling events and shows around the country at weekends.
His bonnehomme was often tested though when he chaired the boisterous annual local Balsa Brain competition between the Southern Area clubs. He was also a long serving secretary of the Southern Area BMFA and loved to spread the message to modellers by helping to man the BMFA stand at various modelling shows. His service to the Southern Area BMFA committee extended over 30 years in various capacities and his commitment to helping others enjoy model flying was never in doubt. Steve would always be ready to support and help promote area BMFA events often spending much time talking with interested spectators at the many shows that he attended. His knowledge gained from a lifetimes aeromodelling extended from small model diesel control line models through to Keil kraft free flight kits and eventually turbine powered rc jets. That said he always had a passion for rc soaring and often reflected of his time flying these models in California where he spent many months working away from home. His enthusiasm was never more evident than at the annual Southern Area Balsa Brain quiz where he would compose the questions, produce numerous slides, organise score sheets and then supported by his wife Maggie act as question master and entertainer for the evening. Even though in the last 12 months he was unable to attend committee meetings he still continued to write reports and submit ideas on improvements for the future, such was our dear friend Steve.
His full time career went from strength to strength seeing him as senior executive in the marine, petrochemical and the automotive industries. He travelled and lectured widely and was sometimes delighted on his long haul trips to find that the pilot was one of his friends in the club. There is no doubt his good humour and robust attitude to life won him many friends and he will be very greatly missed.
Howard Metcalfe / T Butterworth