Hundreds of people have paid their respects to a popular Blyth businessman who died suddenly earlier this month.
Steven Kelly was due to open his new Port a Café business at the Port of Blyth on the morning he tragically suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. He died on January 8.
The father-of-two ran the Ivy Café for approximately 14 years and his family told the Leader that he was excited to be starting the new venture.
His brother Paul and sister Julie said Steven was their rock and the person they turned to for advice, he was a devoted father to his two sons – Gabe, 10, and Grayson, nine – and he loved being an uncle to his nephews Rye and Trey.
His parents, Rob and Ann, said they were so proud of everything he achieved in his life and their son was very proud of his home town.
The 45-year-old had a passion for motorbikes and cars from a young age and he won the North East Motorcycle Race in 2009. His trophy was brought along by the North East club to be placed on his coffin at the funeral.
The service, which was attended by 500 people, took place at Cowpen Cemetery Chapel on Tuesday, January 22.
All his closest friends, described as ‘his band of brothers’, organised his coffin to be sprayed in his motorbike colours and the arrangements also included some of the classic cars Steven loved to lead the funeral cortège.
They and the motorbikes present all revved their engines as a mark of respect in two lines as a guard of honour.
His family said that Steven was filled with ambition, had a passion for life, family and friends and cared about the younger generation, as he did not want teenagers wandering the streets.
Everyone who knew him knew they were meeting a great person.
Steven was always smiling. He loved to cuddle people when he met them, it was never a handshake, and his loss will be felt acutely in his home town.
To help with supporting the younger generation, he was planning to open a motor racing circuit that would also cater for young people – the local police were informed, as were local councillors.
One of his best friends, Brent Hogg, said: “Steven was the glue who kept everyone together.”
Paul said they all loved nothing more than getting in the car and driving for miles sometimes 300 miles.
Rob said that Steven planned to start racing cars in 2019.
Julie added: “We would like to thank everyone in what is a close-knit community for their love and support.
“We’ve had many cards and flowers, including from people we don’t know.”