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Bury St Edmunds: Tributes paid to fundraising mechanic Stephen “Spider” Sharpe

15:44 03 April 2014

Stephen Sharpe with his grandson Bobby

Stephen Sharpe with his grandson Bobby

Archant

Family and friends have paid heartfelt tributes to a charitable west Suffolk mechanic known affectionately as “Spider”.

Grandfather Stephen Sharpe died on Monday last week after his car left the road and hit a garden wall off Hopton Road in Barningham, although the cause of death is believed to be medical rather than injuries sustained in the accident.

The 59-year-old from Bury St Edmunds had just dropped one of his three daughters off in the village and was making his way home.

The selfless grandfather-of-eight was a master engineer according to friends and family, who boasted of his ability to fix anything that was broken.

He had even put these skills to good use in the name of charity, having completely rebuilt ‘Jack’ the tractor and turned it into an ‘awareness tractor’ for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Proudly adorned with the CLIC Sargent colours and a collection box, Mr Sharpe had taken ‘Jack’ to dozens of tractor shows and other events across the country, raising thousands of pounds for CLIC Sargent in the process.

His younger sister Linda Baldry said Mr Sharpe had acquired his “Spider” nickname on account of his uncanny ability to reach even the most inaccessible parts of any vehicle.

Speaking about his work for CLIC Sargent, she added: “He’d taken it on as a passion – you could give him anything, and he’d make something that could work.

“He was very fun-loving. He was cheeky with it, but he’d do anything for anybody. If somebody asked him for help, he’d do it. He was just a good, old-fashioned bloke.”

It was friend John Selley who first got Mr Sharpe into rebuilding the tractors, and recalled him often going home “black as a crow” after a hard day’s work at Mr Selley’s workshop in Rougham.

“He was a good engineer and had a solution for nearly every situation,” added Mr Selley.

“He and his truck did many, many miles collecting or delivering tractors – a task he really enjoyed. I consider it a privilege to have known Steve as a friend and work colleague.”

Mr Sharpe’s funeral takes place at Southgate Church in Bury St Edmunds from 12.30pm on Monday, April 14.

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