In May 2009 one of our most popular Moderators, Steve ‘rolyshark’ Rowlands passed away at the age of just 46. Steve was diagnosed with an advanced and aggressive form of oesophageal cancer; at the time of diagnosis Steve was given just 6 months to live. A few months before he died, Steve asked a film director friend of his to make a 'death video' – Steve’s words! It was intended to be a lasting video record of his life.
As a TV director of some years, Barry J Wale and Steve agreed on a simple documentary approach and on 7th March 2009, just a few days before Steve left on his final trip to Thailand and the hardest journey, Barry interviewed Steve at his parent’s home in Matlock and at the White Lion pub, Steve’s local, for what was intended to be the first of a series of interviews.
It was Steve's wish to do some more filming when he returned home from Thailand and to contribute to the editing of the video that would ultimately remain on the shelf until the day of his funeral - some years in the future, it was hoped. Sadly, Steve died sooner than was expected and that first interview with Barry turned out to be his last.
The film was first shown at The White Lion in Matlock after Steve’s funeral on the 1st of June 2009. It was an incredibly emotional day for those of us who attended. Thailand-UK were represented by Lee & Tar, John & Nat, GTG & Lek, Mark W and Tobias & Jenny. The funeral itself was a non-religious service where heartfelt tributes were made by, and on behalf of, some of Steve’s family and close friends which included the reading of a particularly heart-wrenching note written on the back of a photograph by Steve’s partner Noy.
As organised as ever, Steve had left instructions for his funeral and those instructions were that it should be a ‘celebration’ of his life ... and that was exactly what it turned out to be.
Sadly, Noy and the children were still in Thailand at the time of Steve’s death and it soon became clear it would be impossible for them to attend the funeral as visa and flight arrangements could not be made in time. Consequently it was decided to video record the funeral so that Noy, the children and all Steve’s friends in Thailand could ‘take part’ in this celebration of this great man’s life.
In accordance with Steve’s wishes, Noy scattered his ashes in Thailand after a Traditional Thai Ceremony of Remembrance where the original video was played to those congregated.
For those who were unable to attend either Steve’s funeral in the UK or the Service of Remembrance in Thailand, below you will find the links to the two films in celebration and remembrance of a truly great man.
Both films have been released after numerous requests from Steve's friends. Our gratitude goes to Steve's family and Barry J Wale for their kind permissions to allow these films being made available. Whilst both these films are hosted on YouTube, they are not listed and are only available for viewing by following the links below.
I would recommend viewing the film 'Carpe Diem' before viewing 'The Funeral'.
Stephen David Rowlands (1962 - 2009) - Carpe Diem
Stephen David Rowlands (1962 - 2009) - The Funeral