Wonderful dad and husband-to-be, a brilliant photographer and a great friend to so many – Steve Bowden will never be forgotten.
It was such a sad day when Steve, who lived in Prestatyn, passed away last Monday from the effects of Covid-19.
He had been unwell in hospital for a few weeks, but had been showing some improvement before taking a turn for the worse.
Steve was well-known to Grassroots North Wales as the photographer for 2019-20 Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division champions Rhuddlan Town.
He also used to take pictures of games at Prestatyn Town.
His brilliant action and team photographs were often used on our website and in the local press. He would often thank me if I published his work – I would tell him the thanks are all due from our side.
I did not meet Steve that often, but to see all the glowing tributes since he left us perfectly sums up when an amazing guy he was.
Fiancee to Sandra and dad to Adam and Luke, Steve had not too long retired from many years working at Bentley Motors in Crewe, the town where he originally hailed from.
Sandra said she has been overwhelmed by the support the family has received since their loss.
“With Steve you got what you saw,” she said.
“He’d do anything for anybody if he could. He was a wonderful father and a wonderful partner to me; it’s just a pity we couldn’t get married this year because of all this Covid.
“We were going to do it next year but now that’s been taken out of our hands. He retired in February and wanted to start a business as a photographer – he especially loved taking pictures of the football matches.
“He is originally from Crewe, but spent many, many years in Prestatyn.
“His family had a caravan on Lido Beach around 10 years ago before his mum gave the caravan up.
“I’ve known Steve for over 20 years and he brought my eldest son Adam up as his own and of course we’ve got Luke.
“For many years he’s lived in Prestatyn and we set up home together nearly 20 years ago.
“All the messages and support we’ve had makes us realise how loved Steve was. It’s been a great comfort to us at a very difficult time.”
Wayne Hughes, manager of Rhuddlan Town, said the club is devastated by the loss of someone who quickly became one of their own.
“I first spoke with Steve in December. He had gotten in touch with the club and offered to come along and be the club’s photographer. We had put a post out asking for one and Steve came to our rescue.
“Steve kindly came to a training session on Rhyl’s astro pitch, I wasn’t at training but club captain Jay Whitehouse met with him and got on really well with him.
“Steve took a few photos of the training session that night. The first game he came along to was Rhuddlan Town v Llanfairfechan.
“I met Steve and Luke and got on with them very well. I could see how excited he was to be taking pictures of the team and put us through our paces on a few team photos.
“Steve became a member of the club, joining our group chat and getting involved in conversation from time to time looking forward to each game.
“Steve came to games against Abergele, Llandudno Athletic, Meliden in the worst conditions you could imagine but he was so excited for the game no matter what the weather was like.
“He would post the pictures up within the hour fair play to him and we would all get excited to see them.
“We all got on so well with Steve and he was excited for the football to start again and start taking some pictures again with us back at Pengwern College.
He’s going to be so missed by everyone at the club as he, Luke and Sandra are a part of the Rhuddlan Town family, RIP Steve – forever in our hearts.”
Rhuddlan are already talking about the possibility of organising a tribute football match in Steve’s honour. Stay tuned for news of that….
One thing which stood out to me was how much Wayne and the Rhuddlan lads loved Steve’s work.
I was at the Llanfairfechan game Wayne spoke of and it was interesting to see the angles Steve took the team pictures from. He also canned some great, sharp action shots.
I felt Steve’s photos raised the morale in the Rhuddlan camp and helped inspire them to the title.
How great that Steve knew that title was won, although cruelly, due to the coronavirus situation, he was never able to capture any celebration pictures.
All the same Steve was a big part of the last-ever Vale of Clwyd and Conwy Premier Division championship winners’ massive season.
And perhaps that’s how we should remember Steve.
Like last season was for his beloved Rhuddlan Town, his life is something to be celebrated.
RIP great friend.