Steve Tolfrey - A tribute
Steve looking cheerful.
July 23 2018
Today we gathered to pay our respects to Steve Tolfrey, known to many on here as Barbancet. Fittingly for the man, it was not to remember a life that has passed, it was a celebration of a life that was lived. Yes he will be missed, that goes without saying as somebody who was so much involved with all things Falcons, but much more importantly he will be remembered, and that is what today was about.
The Falcons family was mentioned during the service, indeed his relationship with our beloved club cropped up many times. It was obvious that the Falcons were central to Steve’s life, and the sheer number of Falcons supporters who turned up today, some in suits, some in Falcons shirts, paid testament to how much a part of the Falcons family he had become. I would wager that most of us got to know Steve at away games rather than at Kingston Park, such was his passion for following the club near and far.
Many who knew Steve would be aware of his passion for France, but few would know why or how deep this affection went. His family connections there were unknown to most of us, or even that he had spent a year working and living in France. He loved the place, the people, the food and the way of life. Anybody who has spent time in France will know that the art of conversation there is completely different to what we are used to here, and it is easy to imagine somebody of Steve’s gentle temperament, somebody who enjoys life, fitting in easily with this more artistic way of passing the time.
Steve lurking at the back of the Falcons Lyon trip group, 2012
This side of Steve fits easily with his other passion, the enjoyment of music, both the listening and performing. Some of us will have heard about his hurdy gurdy, and how it seems to have spent most if not all of its time while in Steve’s possession in the hurdy gurdy hospital, but how many of us knew that he also played the trumpet, the banjo, was an enthusiastic musician and singer?
Much of the above, of France and music, would be unknown to most Falcons supporters who knew Steve, because when we met it would be because of his other passion in life; rugby, and that is what we tended to talk about. It is perhaps a stretch too far for the imagination to imagine Steve in the middle of a scrum, but that is precisely where he was found during his playing years. He was a hooker, in the days when a hooker hooked, and was supported by props. Small but strong is often what was wanted in a hooker in those days, how things have changed.
More than anything, Steve could be relied on to be a friendly face. Not always the happiest face, especially when turning up at KP expecting yet another drubbing as we went through our, ahem, not so good years, but even on a bad day he was always good for a conversation. If you were at an away game and saw Steve’s elegant figure amongst the crowd, you knew you would be in good company. He was what Bertie Wooster would describe as ‘a good egg’ easy to know, and easy to like. You can’t really be a better man than that, so if you did know Steve, don’t be sad because of his passing, be thankful that you enjoyed his company.pqs: qs:
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Steve will be greatly missed and a glass or two will be raised on the first away trip bus.
TOLFREY Gillian Marie Peacefully on the 2nd October, aged 38. Beloved daughter of Felicity and the late Steve, loving mother of Frankie and much loved partner of Dex. Her Requiem Mass will be at St Matthew's Church, Jarrow, on Monday 22nd October at 11am, followed by Committal at South Shields Crematorium at 12.30pm. She will be sorely missed by all her family and friends.