More than 200 friends of one of Huddersfield’s best-known characters paid their respects to him at his funeral service today.
Steve Johnson, who died last month aged 62, was well-known not only in Huddersfield thanks to working as a guard at Huddersfield Railway Station and as a controller at Manchester.
And later he acquired many more friends working in several of the town’s pubs and across Yorkshire’s racecourses where he worked as a steward in the car parks.
He also worked as an extra on many TV productions including Waterloo Road, Shameless, Heartbeat and Emmerdale.
One of his great passions in life was vintage buses and so what could have been more fitting than for 100 of his friends to gather at two of the pubs he served, The Dog and Partridge, Sowood, and The Grove, Springwood, and clamber aboard two vintage buses for the short trip to Huddersfield Crematorium.
Civic celebrant Martyn Jones told mourners he would light a candle and place it on the coffin and its flickering flame would symbolise Steve’s life.
He would then extinguish it at the end of the service.
Martyn drew immediate laughter when he told mourners, many of whom had to stand for the entire service: “Steve’s younger brother Rod told me: ‘I think there will be a few people coming’.
“He was a very kind, decent and honest man. A friendly, chatty man who would share the time of day with anyone.
“The world is definitely a quieter place for his passing. He was an interesting man to be around.”
And given his love of real ale, he was a member of CAMRA from the 1970s, it would have been rude not to have mentioned his love of all things beer-related.
Martyn added: “Wherever he was in the country he knew where he could stop for a swift one.”
And he explained how Steve had made friends wherever he went and how he loved travelling and was always planning his next trip.
He was well known for organising brewery trips across the country.
He said: “One of the first places he went to was Beirut which was a very different place when it was described as a paradise in the Middle East.”
Giving an affectionate tribute, Frank Collins, the 87-year-old landlord of Dog and Partridge, said: “I have known Steve for 40 years and he helped me regularly at the Dog.
“He became known as my lad and referred to me as ‘Father’.”
And his voice cracking with emotion he said: “Three weeks ago I was in hospital and by coincidence so was he.
“I asked him if he had made any arrangements for his funeral and he said he wanted something simple.
“I said: ‘No, you are having a proper do.’ He cried and so did I.
“He will be remembered for a long time. God bless him and everyone who knew him.”