The sudden death of Carrickfergus broadcaster Stephen Clements has shocked and saddened the East Antrim community of which he was so much a part.
Despite his star being on the rise in the world of entertainment, the 47-year-old married father of two never lost sight of his local roots. He was a strong supporter of charity and community events.
The Mayor of East Antrim led tributes locally to the BBC Radio Ulster presenter, who in October helped her present prizes at the Mid and East Antrim in Bloom Community Awards ceremony, where his celebrated sense of humour was on display . He quipped he was an enthusiastic but novice gardener who hoped to pick up some top tips from the borough’s horticultural experts.
MEA Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow, said: “My thoughts and prayers are with Stephen’s family, friends and colleagues at this incredibly difficult time. Stephen was a shining light in the media industry in Northern Ireland and as someone who was born and bred in Carrickfergus, he was always a great ambassador for the borough of Mid and East Antrim.
“The impression Stephen made on his many colleagues, friends and listeners from all walks of life is testament to the high esteem in which he was held. Having spent time with Stephen recently, I found him so friendly and easy to talk to and his passing is a huge loss.”
His mid-morning show on Radio Ulster, which commenced in September after successful stints at Citybeat and then Q Radio, was his “dream job”. But the industrious and kind-hearted Stephen helped to make other people’s dreams come true too.
In June he hosted the live entertainment slot at the Learning Disability Pride carnival in Carrickfergus.
Thomas Haighton, Carrickfergus Senior Gateway Club leader, tweeted: “Gutted to hear the news. Stephen was a proper gent and great all round guy. Rest easy.”
Stephen Greene, who organises a fundraising quiz for Meningitis Research Foundation in the Nortel Social Club, Newtownabbey, also paid tribute.
He said: “Stephen had supported us for around 10 years. I am proud to have called him a friend. It takes a name to get people through the doors and Stephen did help to attract more people to the event.
“He was a very big part of fundraising events at the Standard and we will miss him.”
A former pupil of Whitehead Primary School, the family had strong ties with the seaside town and Stephen’s altruism was remembered there too.
Jeremy Jones, who assists with the annual charity swim in memory of schoolgirl Erin Bonar at Islandmagee, said: “Devastating news. Stephen’s parents were originally from Whitehead and he was a regular supporter of our New Year’s Day Dip. Very, very sad.”
Larne Football Club said it was deeply saddened to learn the news of the presenter’s passing.
In a statement the Inver Park club said: “Stephen worked closely with the club on a number of projects over the past two years, endearing himself to all he came in contact with.
“Among the initiatives Stephen was involved with, was helping to launch our new home and away kits in June 2018, voicing the advert for our new Alexa app, the Bring Them Home campaign two Christmases ago and, just last month, working with us to officially launch the Brighter Futures charity.
“Throughout each project, his professional manner, warm personality and down-to-earth touch was apparent to all he worked alongside.
“With many at the club having got to know him over the last number of years, it is clear that Stephen will be deeply missed not only a professional, but more importantly, on a personal level.
“Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Stephen’s family at this time. In particular his wife, two young children, brother Gavin, and all of Clements family circle.”
On Monday, in his final tweet, Stephen posted a family photos collage with a heart emoji. News of his death emerged on Tuesday afternoon which was followed by a flood of tributes from media personalities, celebrities and members of the wider community whose lives had been touched by him.
Peter Johnston, director, BBC Northern Ireland, said: “We are deeply saddened by this news. Stephen was a talented and versatile presenter who was much loved by his colleagues and listeners. He brought creative flair and a sense of mischievous fun to our airwaves. And he had already become an established part of the BBC family. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time.”
Stephen’s brother Gavin said: “We are devastated to lose Stephen who was deeply loved by his family and friends. We would ask for time to come to terms with this news and for privacy at this difficult time.”
Stephen Clements is survived by his wife Natasha and their children Poppy and Robbie.
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