Tributes for talented sportsman and politician who was a 'champion and powerful advocate' for the people of Clitheroe.

A well known Ribble Valley man, who once made a bid to become the MP for his hometown, has died at the age of 65 after a courageous battle against cancer.

By Susan Plunkett
Monday, 29th June 2020, 3:45 pm
Steve Rush, a talented sportsman and campaigner for his hometown of Clitheroe has died after a long battle against cancer.
Steve Rush, a talented sportsman and campaigner for his hometown of Clitheroe has died after a long battle against cancer.

Steve Rush stood for election in 2010 as he was an active campaigner for his hometown of Clitheroe and also passionate about politics. He stood for UKIP but later joined the Independent party.

A gifted sportsman, Steve was involved with Clitheroe Football Club, Clitheroe Cricket Club and Ribblesdale Wanderers Cricket Club, as a player, coach and board member.

He was a former chairman of Citheroe FC and the club has paid its own tribute to Steve for his 'tireless' work.

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Supporters will always remember Steve, as during his first season as chairman , he led the Blues to their only Wembley visit in 1996 for the FA Vase final. He was also heavily involved shortly afterwards with negotiations with Crystal Palace for the signature of keeper Carlo Nash, securing the club’s highest ever transfer fee of £45,000.

Everton fan Steve's time in charge was very much a family affair and he worked hand in glove with his father-in-law and Clitheroe legend Terry Nelson, to start to turn Shawbridge into the stadium it is today.

A pupil at St Michael and St John's Primary School, where he was appointed head boy, Steve attended St Mary's College in Blackburn. He joined Trutex as a trainee manager, then as a sales rep with Bowker Bros Clitheroe .

Steve also worked for the former Britannic Assurance company, starting his career there in 1981. He eventually became manager of the Burnley branch, in charge of 36 staff, from 1993 to 2000 and also had a spell working at the Blackpool branch as assistant manager

Steve's wife Christine said: "Although he was the boss, Steve was really well liked at the company and he made many friends there, who he kept in touch with."

In 2000 Steve set up his own mortgage company with a former colleague for a number of years , and finally worked for his sister Christine’s company before his retirement due to ill health.

Steve was an active spokesman for the community group Clitheroe Residents' Action Group which was set up mainly to monitor new housing developments within the town.

Christine, who was married to Steve for 41 years, said: "Steve was not against new houses being built, he was concerned that they should be the right houses for the area and that proper infrastructure was in place to support the influx of so many new families."

Paying tribute to Steve, the Conservative councillor for Whalley Ged Mirfin said: " Steve was a powerful advocate and a champion for the people of Clitheroe.

"We had our disagreements over the years and recently he became an ally and a friend campaigning as we have together on a whole host of issues like the overdevelopment on Henthorn Road, schooling in the Ribble Valley, retention of the 280 bus service and, of course, Brexit.

"Steve was the first person I called to invite him to the count when the result of the referendum was announced.

"The cheer we both raised when the result announcing we had won was palpable. I enjoyed picking up the phone to Steve and chatting through issues of mutual concern.

"The saddest thing for me is that Steve will miss the opening of the new primary school in Clitheroe which he campaigned so hard for."

Affectionately known as 'Rushy' Steve loved a good debate about different issues and Christine said he was an excellent listener who was always keen to hear other people's views and opinions. He also had a great sense of humour and was known for being a practical joker.

Although he had battled cancer for several years Steve was always bright and positive when people asked him about his health.

Christine said: "Steve was a very sociable person, he loved being around and with people and when they would ask him how he was he would always say he was fine and doing well even in the last few months of his life because he didn't want them to treat him any differently."

Steve also loved spending time with his family including his children Simon, Chris and Danielle and his grandchildren Jacob and Isabelle.

Due to Covid 19 restrictions the funeral is family only but Steve's cortege will pass the three sports clubs he was associated with this Friday (July 3rd) from 10-15am for those who knew him to stand and pay their respects.

His family are planning a celebration of Steve's life at a later date.

There is a request for family flowers only but donations can be made in Steve’s memory, via Mrs Carol Waddington, 6 The Grove, Clitheroe, BB7 2AX. These will be shared between Clitheroe Cricket Club, Clitheroe Football Club, and Ribblesdale Wanderers Cricket Club.

Steve also leaves his father George, mother Marion, his sister Christine and daughter in law Vicki.