Tributes to Stephen Dale
The TSA were very saddened to hear of the passing of Stephen Dale, a prominent and popular member of the TSA Outlook Group. Tributes and kind messages for Steve have flooded in, including the following two tributes by former TSA Trustee, Corinne Swainger, and Steve’s good friend, Paul Maywood:
Many TSA members were sad to hear that Stephen “Steve” Dale passed away following a suspected heart attack earlier this year, on January 20, 2019. Born on May 5, 1958, Steve had been an active member of the TSA Outlook group, held for adults mildly affected by TSC, for over 20 years.
Steve was born in Teddington, South West London, and lived most of his life in his own flat in Sutton, South London. He was an avid football fan and mostly supported Wimbledon Football Club from a young age. He worked for the supermarket chain Waitrose for over 40 years in various general assistant roles, before retiring in 2018.
Steve was first diagnosed with TSC at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital at 7 months old, after his parents noticed that he had minor petit mal seizures. Steve did not suffer any other symptoms of TSC. “When Steve first joined the TSA, he was very inspired by all of the generous support that Janet Medcalf and Ann Hunt gave to him and other members” explained Steve’s mother, Gillian.
His real passion in life, however, was travelling to various countries with 2 to 3 other close friends, whom he met through the TSA. “I will always remember us trekking the Inca Trail in Peru. Last year, we also travelled to Mexico, mainly to celebrate his 60th birthday,” said Andrew Wellington. “Over the years, we also visited Spain, Cyprus, Madeira, Italy and Croatia.
“He was a lot of fun to be around and we became good friends at the 1999 TSA Outlook weekend.” Andrew said. Since then, Steve had continued to attend the annual Outlook meetings in various parts of the UK and participate in social activities to raise money for the charity.
Many of Steve’s friends have paid tribute to him by leaving online posts and photos of Steve on TSA Outlook Facebook group pages. “He was like the big brother I never had. He had a lovely smile and was very kind and thoughtful” Jane Rogers posted. “He was such a kind guy and he had such an infectious laugh,” added Catherin Graham: “He loved taking the mickey out of my Geordie accent. It feels strange not having him on the end of [Facebook] Messenger”.
Steve's mother, Gillian, noted that Steve did not specifically die of a TSC-related condition: “Both his father and grandfather died of heart problems at around a similar age, but none of them were diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis. He didn’t talk about TSC much to us as a family. I never realised he had so many friends through the TSA until he died.”
Steve is survived by his brother Andrew Dale and his mother Gillian Dale.
- Corinne Swainger
I’ve known Steve since 1970 at Young Epilepsy UK, which is a charity working on behalf of children and young people with epilepsy. We met up again through the TSA in 1996, shortly after Outlook began. We were both Arsenal fans, and I stayed at his flat on many occasions before and after Arsenal away games. Steve was a very kind person and would do anything for anyone. I will never forget the fun we had on the Mexican holiday that I shared with Andy Wellington and Steve to celebrate Steve’s 60th birthday.
It is a shock to find out he’s gone at such a young age. The night I received the sad text from Andrew I had to read it three times to digest it. Getting off at Sutton Post Office the week after, and not seeing Steve waiting for me, was not easy for me. He will be missed by many people.
- Paul Maywood