Tribute paid to Birchington Man Shed founder Stephen Bryant

Birchington Man Shed founder Stephen Bryant

Tribute has been paid to the founder and Chairman of Birchington Man Shed, whose funeral was held this month.

Stephen Bryant, who was the driving force behind setting up the shed group and finding expanded premises, passed away in December.

A service was held on January 16 at Margate Crematorium, followed by the wake at Birchington United Services Club.

Steve set plans for the man shed in motion in 2021 when he began finding sponsors and looking for members to set up a committee.

By the following year 18 members were meeting at the shed and the group became so busy that it moved from a hall space to a new home at the Quex Craft Village.

Steve and Birchington Man Shed members after their move to Quex

The move meant there was room for a permanent area for woodworking benches and space for the model railway layout.

Man Sheds are aimed at bringing men aged 55 and over together to alleviate loneliness and isolation, and to provide a common purpose.

Shed Honorary Treasurer Mike Kite said: “I met Steve in March 2022, when I decided to take a look at Birchington Man Shed. Steve was Chairman of our Man Shed and I was impressed by the way a few men had got together to create a version of Man Shed for Birchington.

“Steve was a member of Birchington in Bloom, and I guess that was where the seed of an idea bloomed.

“Steve explored Birchington for somewhere to establish a shed and with the help and support of a committee, the first space and funding was found. This all happened before I knew Steve, and all credit to Steve and those involved in the early days.

“The first premises were good in their own way and it was soon apparent that we needed to move. Steve was again the driving force behind the move and with the involvement of others, Steve led us to our current home at Quex Craft Village.

“We have been very fortunate with support, donations and grants, and now have a secure future.

Birchington Man Shed team

“In my time with Steve, I came to know him as a very human and caring person. A man with a great sense of humour. Even while he was in hospital in Bristol, he was still dedicated to the running of Man Shed, and in the true spirit of Man Shed, ready to wind me up with a classy bit of banter.

“Man Shed members remember that Steve was welcoming to newcomers, he was a good at finding the middle way through any problems and he was always ready to share a questionable joke. Steve supported and introduced the Ladies Thursday afternoon session which is thriving.

“Steve was, is and always will be Birchington Man Shed and Birchington Man Shed will always be Steve Bryant.”

Steve, a former Navy man, was a devoted husband to Jacqueline, son, brother, proud dad and fun grandad and uncle.

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