Military-style funeral for Steve

THE funeral of a young dad whose sudden death stunned a community, was attended by over 100 mourners.

A coffin covered with a Union Jack and a chainsaw was carried by the five brothers of the late Stephen Lister in to Darfield Church, for a funeral that honoured the family’s long military history.

The 45-year old dad-of-one died from a coronary thrombosis as he returned home from his work as a tree surgeon on September 7.

He worked extensively around the area and gypsies and travellers were among the many who paid their last respects on September 16. People travelled from across the country, and Arthur Goddard, the father of Steve’s partner Lisa, travelled through the night from Lanzarote to be there for the occasion.

Lisa, 31, of Primrose Avenue, Darfield, said: “My dad only found out about the funeral the day before, and made an emergency dash to be here by my side. Our daughter Ashleigh was too upset to attend, but on Sunday we took flowers to the grave in Darfield Cemetery where Steve’s ashes will be placed.

“During the service, Lisa’s stepfather Colin Gregg passed around a pen, hewn from a rough piece of wood by Steve, to show his craftsmanship. This was presented to Steve’s brother Simon.

Flower tributes included a floral ‘Big Bruv’ from Simon, 43, who also gave a eulogy, a ‘Dad’ from Ashleigh, an open heart from Lisa, and a chainsaw within an arrangement from Matthew Crossland, a young friend who was with Stephen in his Ford Transit van on the M1 when he died.

At Ardsley Crematorium, a poem ‘The Fallen Limb’ was read, and the final song, chosen by Lisa, was Wild Rover by the Dubliners, with the chorus sung by the congregation. An open celebration of Steve’s life followed at the Longbow, Darfield. “The funeral was just as we wanted it,” said Lisa. “I’m grateful to everyone who came and shared their memories of Steve”.

Stephen served in the French Foreign Legion from 19, after a rejection by the British military because of a perforated eardrum. His grandfather Thomas was highly ranked in the Irish Guards, his father Stephen was a Colour Sergeant in the Prince of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment, his brother Simon was a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and two brothers serve in the Special Armed Forces. Younger brother Matthew served in the Royal Engineers.