TRIBUTES have been paid to much loved family man Stephen Fletcher, who has died aged 51.
The father-of-two and grandfather-of-one was a well liked figure in Stroud who ‘would do anything for anyone’.
At the news of his death, hundreds of people took to social media and posted photos of themselves raising a glass to celebrate Stephen’s life, with the hashtag #raiseaglassforfletch.
One friend posted: “A Stroud legend and a true gentleman.”
Another said: “A truly remarkable man, always lit up a room. Your smile will be missed but never forgotten my friend.”
And one wrote: “Loyal friend to so many and a top top bloke.”
Stephen grew up in Stonehouse, Nailsworth and Stroud and was an adventurous and sporty lad.
When he and his siblings were little they enjoyed long bike rides with their dad, often riding for miles and miles together.
Stephen and his dad also took part in Dursley Road Racing Club time trials.
Stephen loved rugby too, and was a lifelong supporter and player at Cainscross RFC.
Boxing was another passion and he was a big fan of Ricky Hatton, whom he ended up singing Blue Moon to while on a stag do in Blackpool.
He completed the Stroud Half Marathon in 2009, raising over £1,000 for Help for Heroes, and completed a triathlon with his son Corey in 2013.
He also took a sky dive from 12,000ft with his brother in law Dan French, and went microlighting in Greece with his son Tom.
A former pupil at Archway, Stephen went into the building trade after leaving school.
He also worked as a postman, a warehouse operative, a store man and, more recently, as a self employed taxi driver, a job he loved, ‘because he loved nothing more than to help people’.
While on holiday in Sri Lanka he even persuaded a tuk tuk driver to let him have a go, because he was missing his taxi work.
Fellow Stroud taxi driver Tony George has fond memories of Stephen, saying: “He was a lovely guy, always smiling, always happy.
“Everyone thought he was great.”
Stephen’s wife Amy said he was ‘one of the hardest workers you will ever meet’.
He worked hard during his leisure time too, renovating two houses and restoring two VW campervans.
He always had projects on the go, or his next big idea planned in his head.
He was lots of fun to be around and was well known for his ‘cheeky’ personality.
He enjoyed belting out Oh Carol and anything by Elvis during karaoke sessions, and could always be found on the dance floor at parties or in pubs, making his ‘crazy funky dance moves’.
He loved animals too, and Stephen and Amy got a West Highland terrier called Tugger in 2008. Tugger joined the couple on lots of local walks, trips away in the campervan, and days out at the beach.
Interested by birds, Stephen kept zebra finches, cockatiels and quails and built his own aviary, which he and his friend Jim extended during lockdown.
And while on holiday he swam with sharks and giant sting rays, rode an elephant, and held a baby crocodile.
Stephen was father to two sons, Thomas, 29, and Corey, 28, whom he adored and thought the world of.
And he was overjoyed to become grandad to Nelly eight months ago.
He met his beloved wife Amy in 2004 and they were married at the Thistle Hotel in Cheltenham on February 3, 2008.
Amy said Stephen was ‘cheeky and always laughing’ and ‘fun and outrageous with an infectious personality’.
“He was kind, generous and loving and would do anything for anyone at any given time,” she said. “No matter what he was doing, he would stop and come to the rescue.”
Stephen is survived by his wife Amy Marie Fletcher, his sons Thomas Stephen Fletcher and Corey James Fletcher, his dad David Fletcher, his step mum Hazel Fletcher, his sisters Eve, Tracy and Hayley, and his step brother ‘Little’ Steve.
Stephen’s brother Jamie Fletcher passed away in February 2019 and his mum Margaret died in 1992.
Due to lockdown the funeral and wake will be close family by invitation only.
Family flowers only. Donations in memory of Steve to Help for Heroes and Sunflowers Suicide Support can be made via stephenfletcher.muchloved.com