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.