It is with a very heavy heart and great sadness that I share the dreadful news that Steph Jennings (latterly Clarke), activist, social media whizz, local community advocate and fellow local blogger – better known as @essitam on twitter – died suddenly yesterday (Friday, 25th November 2016).
Steph passed away following a brain haemorrhage on Thursday. An awfully random, dreadful act of fate. My thoughts, sympathies and deepest condolences are with James Clarke, her husband, and Jordan, her son.
Our wonderful Steph Clarke passed away at 6:50am this morning after suffering a brain haemorrhage at work on Thursday. She fought all night whilst surrounded by family and friends. Words cannot explain how devastated and lost we are without her, as we know many of you will be.
We took this last photo together whilst Christmas shopping on Monday, we hope you remember her smiling like we do.
Thank you to everyone that has been there for us over the past 24 hours including the fantastic staff at New Cross Hospital who treated us and Steph so well.
Steph had been blogging for Wednesfield with WV11.co.uk since before I started my blog, and her warmth and welcoming online friendship was characteristic of the earliest times of the nascent local online community way back in 2009.
I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing back then – Steph, and others offered me a guide by example. I’ll be forever grateful for the welcoming, wide comradeship and the steady hand of friendship that was offered.
Steph’s spread of work – from her photography, to great use of Facebook and the twitter really showed me how well this local interest thing could be done, and I learned much from her enthusiasm, skill, her relentless energy and dedication to her community.
Steph was a rarity in that she had as dynamic and effective physical presence in the community as her online one, and her involvement in local projects was exemplary and inspiring.
A lady with clear ideas, beliefs and principles, Steph was forthright, engaging, direct, funny, eloquent and erudite. Even if you didn’t agree, you could always respect the passion and thought that went into her position.
Steph to me was one of the old guard, one of the local social media community that I thought would always be around, and I’ll always remember her with fondness and great respect.
Right now, the hyperlocal community is very much the poorer and Wednesfield has lost it’s most passionate, inspired and talented activist.
But above all, a lovely family is suffering the most dreadful of losses. My heart breaks for them.
My sympathies, thoughts and respect are with James, Jordan and all who were lucky enough to be acquainted with this remarkable woman.
There’s a great post in memoriam on Talkabooutlocal here, which includeds the following film of Steph and James, and their remarkable community work: