Tribute to a ‘loveable rogue’

Stephen Hemsley
Stephen Hemsley

A CALVERT GREEN family has paid tribute to a 17-year-old who died in a road traffic accident last Wednesday.

Stephen Hemsley suffered fatal injuries when his motorbike was involved in a collision with a car on the A41 Bicester to Aylesbury road, near the Piddington turning, at about 10pm on June 1.

Stephen Hemsley

Stephen Hemsley

Parents Ray, 51, and Amy, 47, spoke to the Advertiser this week about the boy they described as “a very sincere young man” and “a cheeky loveable rogue” who was wholehearted in everything he did.

“He was in a hurry to come into the world and he was in a hurry to go out,” said Amy, a nurse, recalling Stephen’s birth, on September 8, 1993, less than an hour after she arrived at the hospital.

Reaching 5ft 11in tall, Stephen grew to tower over his mum, whom he nicknamed Shrimplet.

“He was just such an adorable, adorable boy,” Amy said. “He had his whole future ahead of him.

Stephen Hemsley

Stephen Hemsley

“He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me angry and he had the most wicked, dry sense of humour. He was a cheeky, loveable rogue.”

Having left The Buckingham School, Stephen was studying for an NVQ in motor vehicles at Aylesbury College.

Music was his passion and he played bass guitar in heavy rock/techno band Paradise On Fire.

His favourite bands were Metallica and Bullet For My Valentine, and he regularly attended music gigs along with Ray and brother Matthew, 19, a student at the University of Bedfordshire.

Ray, a yardman at Clancy Docwra, had just ordered them tickets for a Status Quo concert at the NEC in December.

The family has chosen Stephen a white coffin printed with the design of a bass guitar and the words ‘Rockin’ In Heaven’.

A Manchester United supporter, Stephen played football for Steeple Claydon Football Club and rugby for Buckingham Town.

Ray said: “We were looking forward to the next football season because all three of us had just got season tickets for MK Dons.”

Stephen had attended the Buckingham and Winslow Young Carers group (YC2) for four years, as he helped look after his brother, who suffers from ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.

He was interviewed in the Advertiser in April after completing his training to be a Young Leader for the group.

Amy said: “I was so proud to see him in your newspaper. Who’d have thought, weeks later, he’d be in again for a different reason?”

On the night of the accident, Stephen was returning from the Didcot home of his girlfriend, Jess Hayes, aged 15. He had spent the previous night by her bedside in the John Radcliffe Hosptal, in Oxford after she was admitted with suspected appendicitis.

Amy said: “You could just see the love between them. They’d known each other three months and they’d only just got together over the last few weeks. They just totally adored each other.”

A service of celebration will be held for Stephen at 1.30pm on Monday, June 13, at St Michael’s Church, Steeple Claydon. There will be a cremation at Amersham Crematorium at a later date.

In an eery coincidence, the family had recently attended Stephen’s uncle’s funeral there and Stephen told his mother: “Don’t bury me in the ground, Mum. I want to be burnt to Metallica.”

His parents emphasise they do not want flowers at the memorial service, but would like people to make donations to YC2 instead.

“We’ve told people to wear jeans and T-shirts – no suits or mourning dress,” said Amy. “I’m wearing a purple dress and his dad is wearing Stephen’s Metallica hoodie.”

And she added: “He was a 17-year-old, vibrant young man who affected a lot of people’s lives in a big, big way, and he died happy. We can all go through the ‘what ifs’, but he died happy. Our only regret is that he died.”

Mike Vaill of Steeple Claydon Football Club said: “He was a popular member of the team and was a pleasure for the managers to train. He always played with a smile on his face and enjoyed his football. The club are deeply saddened by Stephen passing away in such tragic circumstances.”

A full tribute from YC2 can be seen in our Clubs section on page 19. For more tributes visit www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk

> Anyone with any information about the crash should contact PC Dave Mitchell on 08458 505505.