Family pays tribute to popular Worthing man: "we love and miss him every single day"

The family of a popular Worthing man has paid tribute to him following his death.

Steve Blaikie, 58, passed away peacefully while asleep at home, in his garden, in Juno Close, Goring, on June 22.

He was best known as the founder of the Worthing Past and Present Facebook page, which has around 30,000 members.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

News of his sudden death led to an outpouring of grief and condolences on social media.

Steve Blaikie has passed away

Among those to pay tribute to him was his wife Margaret Blaikie.

Their engagement was featured in the Herald last year, when Steve jokingly alluded to his popularity. At the time, he said: "I might have to get The O2 Arena for our reception."

Speaking to the paper, she said: "I may have only known Steve for three years, but in that short time we formed a strong loving bond that led to our marriage on September 7 last year.

"Steve always made me laugh and loved me for the person I am.

Steve Blaikie has passed away

"I loved the silly jokes we shared and the way he so bravely coped with his disability.

"Rest in peace my darling, love always."

Steve was born on May 5, 1962 in Blackheath, London.

He moved to Worthing in the late sixties and grew up in the same house where his mum still lives, studying at Heene Primary School and St Andrew's C.E. High School for Boys.

The community has shared its condolences

In his teens, Steve represented England in 10 pin bowling competitions, something he was also known for in the town, according to his family.

During his career, he worked as a train driver, a HGV and heavy machine plant driver and a trackman for Network Rail.

He started the Worthing Past and Present page in 2013 'as a way of sharing views of the town he grew up in, from old black and white pictures to more modern views', his family said.

They added: "He was proud at just the way everybody contributes with their own pictures, finding out more of Worthing's history to share with everybody."

Steve was a family man, through and through

Why was he so popular?

"He was just infectious, once you had met him you certainly never forgot him," his relatives said.

He was previously featured in the Herald for his impressive weight loss journey in 2017: from 26 stone and 6XL t-shirts to a slimmer figure thanks to help from fitness trainer Kenny Rye.

Steve also overcame the odds when the lower parts of his legs had to be amputated due to an infection in the same year.

In true Steve style, a memorial Facebook page has been set up in his honour; click here to see it.

His funeral will take place on July 13 at Worthing Crematorium, with the hearse setting off from Juno Close.

Steve's infectious personality will be missed

The ceremony will be followed by a celebration at The Smugglers Return in Ham Road, Worthing - one of his favourite pubs where he did karaoke and had his wedding reception - and all are welcome. Family flowers only.

The family have also launched a fundraising page to raise money for his funeral, with excess donations going to The Bluebell Railway in Uckfield and Friends of Worthing Hospitals.

He is survived by Margaret, his ex-wife Pauline Simpson-Blaikie, his siblings Jackie and Regan, his six children Cher, Zoe, Stephen, Phillip, Toby and Kayleigh, and 22 grandchildren: Caine, Luke, Damian, Robin, Alfie, Kyle, Alex, Andrew, Jayden, Logan, Eloise, Ruby May, Ollie, Matilda, Skye, Darcie, Haydn, Jensen, Caralina, Alisha, Paige and James.

Pauline also paid tribute to him. She said: "As Steve’s ex-wife life together was never a dull moment. To him family was everything.

"He was a collector of Railway memorabilia and this was to be seen in all corners of the house. He certainly left his mark and will be sorely missed.

"Wait for us on that platform!"

Steve's family have written a poem as a tribute to him:

Our dad was the man who had a smile to brighten your days.

Who always made you feel good with his warm words of praise.

Our dad meant so much to all of us, and he was special and that’s no lie.

He brightened up the darkest day and the cloudiest of sky.

Our dad was someone who always had good stories to tell,

But just as importantly he knew how to be a good listener as well.

If We could write a story, it would be the greatest ever told.

Of a kind a loving dad, who had a heart of pure gold.

We could write a million pages but still be unable to say,

Just how much We love and miss him every single day.

We will remember all you taught us, we are hurting but you wouldn’t want us sad.

So we will keep looking to you for answer as you will always be our dad.