Steve Collins

Many Suffolk players will remember Steve Collins.   He moved to Bury St Edmunds in May 2007 to live with Donna (whom he’d met at the 2006 Bury Congress where she was serving refreshments).   He was an active member of the then Bury Cannons Chess Club.   Just before Christmas 2007, Steve suffered a horrific accident when he tripped over in his own kitchen, striking his head against the wall.   A broken neck paralysed him and he spent a couple of months in Addenbrookes in Cambridge, followed by a lengthy period in Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

During his time in hospital in Cambridge, members of the Bury Cannons Chess Club took turns to take Donna to visit him.

When he had recovered sufficiently, Steve moved back to Chelmsford to a nursing home and later lived with his fiancée Vanessa in a bungalow; she was his main carer for the majority of the almost five years from then until his passing.

Until recently, Steve was still playing chess – his friends in Chelmsford would take him to the chess club where he played in the North Essex League – and he was very active on Facebook where he last posted on 23 February.   A couple of weeks ago he was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

Sadly, yesterday morning, Steve passed away, aged 43.

The photo above was taken in May 2008, when visiting him at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Steve’s latest grade was 150, but two years ago, in January 2012, he recorded his highest-ever grade of 165.

An effervescent personality, Steve did not let his disability get the better of him.   He will be sorely missed.

13 thoughts on “Steve Collins
  1. Lots wrong with this, Donna didn't support steve in fact she left him 3 weeks after he woke up from his injuries and no driving lessons were bought with the money, I've stuck by him for nearly 5 yes, we lived together soon after steve came back to Chelmsford and I was his main carer throughout our time together

  2. That's very sad news, especially someone dying at a young age. I remember playing him in 2007 and I either won or drawn against him. He was such a nice fella and yes he will be sorely missed.


    Chris D

  3. I am very sorry to hear that Steve has suddenly died. He carried on with life as best as he could following his tragic accident and he still loved his chess. We played a few years ago in the North Essex League and enjoyed a few drinks afterwards. Steve was very well supported by the Bury Cannons Chess Club after his accident, led by Bob Jones and, after he moved to Essex, by the Chelmsford Chess Club and in particular, as I recall, by Robin Slade. Are there any details of funeral arrangements?

  4. He was an amazing man – would be nice out of respect for his FIANCEE (NOT new girlfriend!!) and for his family if you could at least get the facts correct though – very disappointed in your lack of consideration for their feelings, especially after you were given more accurate information last week! 🙁

    1. Oh dear – the last thing I wanted to do was to upset anyone close to Steve. I did reply to Vanessa directly, but I thought there was nothing wrong in what I wrote. I didn't know that Vanessa was his fiancée, so apologies for that. The information about Donna was correct, because the Bury Cannons Chess Club was in close contact with her during January and February following the accident, with different members taking her on many occasions to visit Steve at Addenbrookes. I remain unclear what other facts were incorrect, so please let me know, either on this site or directly via email.

    2. Hi Bob
      I understand your confusion but I feel any mention of Donna is disrespectful to Steve's memory as she dumped him 3 weeks after he woke up, the day after Valentine's day. Also she never used the funds raised for their intended purpose – and emptied his bank account whilst he was in hospital!! She sent all his belongings back to Chelmsford, to his mother's address – with NO warning – in a van. Having spoken to various members of the family, I believe that any mention of this woman in any tribute to this lovely man will cause distress to anyone who knew him well, especially in recent years. Feel free to salute Steve and celebrate his life but please leave her out of it for the sake of his family and friends. Many thanks. Ruth

    3. I've made a number of changes to the original article. For example, I've deleted the mention of driving lessons. However, Donna has still been mentioned, albeit briefly, because the Chess Club was very involved with her, taking her and her daughter to Addenbrookes on many occasions. We thought we were doing the right thing then.

  5. Sorry, just re-read it and realised this is incorrect as well —- "When he had recovered sufficiently, Steve moved back to Chelmsford to live on his own in a specially equipped flat. Carers would come in every day to wash and feed him" He moved in to a bungalow from the nursing home with Vanessa and she was his main carer for the majority of the almost five years from then until his passing.

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