Stephen was the only member of the NPRA that predated my joining, and our first member ever to die in office – which feels right, because Stephen was a driving force to the end – not always in a mainstream direction – but always with conviction and passion. I’ve been around for long enough to say with some authority that most of the initiatives that I’ve taken credit for as the NPRA’s uncontested chair over many years had initially been Stephen’s ideas. He brought the first Royal Street Party to fruition, which 6 street parties on, might seem like a safe bet, but was anything but. He started the Wildlife in the Park initiative, recently revitalised and going strong. And he saw the need for us to capture the rich social histories that are waiting to be discovered in The Park, something we’re still building up behind the scenes and hope to ‘go live’ with before too long.
We need more people like Stephen. People who always see an angle for how to make improvements or just shake things up a bit. And Stephen needs more than a bench to be remembered by, because he wasn’t one for sitting back – or being sat on for that matter. We haven’t quite worked out what that will be yet, but we’re working on it.
And in the meantime, if there’s anyone out there who feels like filling his shoes, keeping us on our toes and telling us where we’ve got it wrong, there’s a sizeable space at the table that needs filling.
Mike Siebert, On behalf of the NPRA