Steph Jennings – an unbelievable loss

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Steph shared this remarkable portrait of herself by fellow photographer Paul Martin on Twitter a few days ago, and said ‘Did I ever say how much I love this photo of me by Paul, one of my fellow photography club members.’ – I hope Paul doesn’t mind me sharing it here.

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.

James posted the following on Facebook at 2:37pm yesterday afternoon:

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.

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Image posted on Facebook by James D Clarke.

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:

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9 Responses to Steph Jennings – an unbelievable loss

  1. I was so shocked when I found out about this yesterday. Steph was a wonderful person and I feel honoured to have known her and to have been her friend. Such a huge loss.

  2. To quote Dan Slee, there just isn’t someone else you can compare Steph and James to. Nobody else like her.

  3. Paul Taylor says:

    I am so shocked to hear this and was only talking to Steph a couple of weeks ago about doing some stuff together. A beautiful piece though. Thoughts to James and the family

  4. Well said…a very sad loss.

  5. kate Goodall says:

    The phrase ‘one in a million’ is generally over-used. Steph though, was that one in a million. I’ve truly never known anyone else with the passion, energy, creativity, digital skills, total joie de vivre and love for community that Steph had. She achieved so much and I’m so proud that she was my friend

  6. Colin Carr says:

    Steph was an absolute inspiration to me when we were first thinking about setting up our website and social media for Tettenhall and the community markets which followed it. The saddest news by far of 2016. We won’t forget you Steph.

  7. mary says:

    I was so sorry to here this news. I did not know this lovely lady other than through twitter. It was obvious via her posts the amount of love she had. Her husband, her son, her family, her friends, her cats, her community, her photo club. Great tweets about TBK ‘s prom and starting 6th Form. A great loss to all. So proud of her son and husband. I remember her posting about her wedding, so genuine and intimate not full of false grandness. Also a great photo taker. I remember her excellent photo that made the front of the E&S. My deepest sympathy to all who have lost so much and yes she had a great smile.

  8. RH says:

    Just catching up on this news – so shocked. One of the true local heroes who continue to value community and togetherness, even when others say it isn’t possible.

  9. stymaster says:

    Sad, sad news. I was out of the country when I heard. I didn’t know Steph well but had met her and James 3 or 4 times, and just on those occasions was struck by her energy and enthusiasm. A great loss to the community, both locally in Wednesfield and the wider online community.

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