Stephen Rosser, the all round ‘good guy’ who made a difference

The close-knit community of Bude was stunned this week to hear of the sudden and unexpected passing of the well-loved and respected Stephen Rosser, perhaps best known for his volunteer Treasurer role with Bude Sea Pool.


Accountant Stephen, the husband of Deb and father of Mark and Helen, died suddenly while returning to his beloved Bude from the south-east where he had been recovering from an operation on his leg (a ruptured quadriceps tendon repair). Otherwise fit and healthy, he sadly died from a blood clot at a station on his way home.


Communities attract different kinds of activists. Some do the front of stage work, getting the message out, being the public face of organisations and causes, but equally importantly, some quietly do the background work, less obvious but vital in maintaining communities and organisations. Stephen’s accountancy skills were in high demand, skills which he used to do great good within our town, but whose influence extended far wider than Bude. Stephen was a man who helped hold his community together by quietly providing cohesion and balance.


Some people may still not know of Stephen for he wasn’t a ‘front man’, never shouting about all the hours he put in, often doing the ‘numbers stuff’ that doesn’t excite many of us but which is so essential to any accountable organisation. Communities need all sorts of people. Stephen’s way was to work quietly, often but not always behind the scenes with many organisations and groups, such as the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, and the Chamber of Commerce for whom he worked tirelessly. This, despite the fact he spent most of his time working in Essex, unable to live full-time in Bude, from where he also worked remotely. Stephen embraced Bude and Bude became his home, so he gave back to the community that had welcomed him and his family.

Hard to believe it is back in 2014 when noticing Stephen’s community presence despite him making no fuss or ado, I asked him the Bude & Beyond 10 Christmas Questions. He was very pleased with the late-night shopping evening in which he’d played a huge role and the Lantern Parade created by a local organisation, BAAM, all part of the festivities. He was immensely proud to have played a part in keeping the Sea Pool open despite the damage caused by the 2013 storms and was keen to see a regeneration of the beaches, with attractive new beach huts. That regeneration, of course, happened. Stephen noticed the little things that needed doing to help put Bude on the map and make it the town that it is. Not only did he notice, but he also set about actively creating the conditions for that to happen, through his work with Bude Chamber.


The most poignant part of re-reading Stephen’s answers was his comment that the best Christmas present of all would be: “To be able to live full time in Bude and not just one week in three”. That, I understand, was his plan for 2019, which sadly was denied him.


Why Bude? He loved the beach, the friendliness, the community spirit, and the people, where, as he said: “everybody seems to give everybody else the time of day”. He also had a fun side when attending community events. In 2017, I stood with Stephen and Deb getting soaked at Leopallooza; Stephen, as cheery as ever, never once complained about the incessant rain. A devoted family man, there was also a side that only those closest to him would see. In December 2018, Stephen and Deb had celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary.  As Deb said: “Now I know why I married him. He was a very special person, my best friend”.


Stephen was on the list of all round ‘good guys’. His work will live on and Stephen’s legacy is in his children of whom he was very proud. Everyone in Bude who knew him was shocked and saddened by his death, and our thoughts go out to his wife, children and wider family and friends.

Bless you, Stephen, for you made your mark, you made a difference.


  • Sue says:

    Lovely tribute Dawn. . He was such a clever man, was devoted to Deb and their children and gave so much of himself to help Bude . He absolutely loved the sea and spent hours in the waves. Never afraid to have a bit of fun, my lasting memory will be when we both entered the flexbury bellboarding championship, failed miserably but continued to ride the waves on a piece of wood because it was so much fun.

  • Kerry says:

    A really lovely tribute for a man who truly was a pillar of strength in our community..
    May you rest in paradise Stephen x

  • Helen Shingler says:

    I don’t think anyone could have written a more fitting tribute Dawn and Stephen’s untimely passing has sent a shockwave through the local community. Our hearts go out to Deb and the children, there are no words to adequately express the sympathy we all feel but I am sure yours will bring some comfort at this sad time….RIP Stephen

  • Michelle Preston says:

    My husband and I had the pleasure of knowing Stephen in Essex where he was our accountant. When we moved to Holsworthy he continued to handle our affairs until the business was finally closed.
    Our memories were of a man who was always kind, had time for you and always was so positive.
    Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
    Andy and Michelle Preston.

  • Ian says:

    A touching and fitting tribute to a very nice guy.

  • Ian Mason says:

    As has been said a very fitting tribute. Having worked alongside Stephen in the Chamber, the qualities I most admired were his gentleness, genial positivity, perceptive commonsense and readiness to make time to “get involved”. How we need people of that ilk!

  • S says:

    I was lucky enough to work alongside Stephen during my time in the chamber of commerce, we also ran late night shopping together,.
    I enjoyed working with Stephen very much his dry sense of humour and his quiet ability to take people to task always amused me. A lovely, kind and decent man who I shall miss seeing around Bude very much.

  • Jason King says:

    When Stephen first moved to Bude, he was our neighbour. First impressions were that he was very quiet, but it turned out he had an excellent, but quiet, sense of humour. Very cheeky. We decided to engage Stephen as our accountant, and he immediately saved us a load of money. He would always make time to talk to us about our business, in person, in our house, his office or the pub. He was a lovely man and we’ll both miss him.

  • J says:

    I was honoured to know Stephen when he asked me to join the lightupbude team 4 years ago. He was always so very polite and ever ready to help me out whenever I needed it. He was a quiet “warrior” who wanted the best for Bude and it’s community. My favourite memory was when I was in labour and having a walk along the canal and bumped into both Stephen and Deb, they said calming words to my husband and I and expressed their parental support and wisdom, I shall always be thankful for that! I shall miss him and send out my deepest deepest thoughts and feelings to Deb and their children. X

  • Richard Lee says:

    Stephen helped me with a tax issue that had been a big problem for me for years. Stephen dealt with this issue for in a week. He didn’t even charge me for his great work. He was a true friend to me and I’ll always remember the help he gave me.

    Always kind and gentle whilst talking about it over a pint. Top man and one I owe a lot to.

    Thank you

    Richard Lee

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