Thanks for all the light and laughter Stephen Clements... Radio Ulster's Kerry McLean in moving tribute to her DJ friend
A BBC colleague of Stephen Clements has told how the late presenter not only "brought so much light and laughter to our mornings" but also made her son's birthday extra special.
The 47-year-old father-of-two died suddenly earlier this week just months after starting what he described as his "dream job" at Broadcasting House in Belfast.
He took over the flagship mid-morning Radio Ulster music slot last September having previously hosted the popular Breakfast Show on Q Radio for seven successful years.
Writing in her Belfast Telegraph magazine column, Kerry McLean told how the kind e-salesman turned king-of-the-airwaves gave her son Dan an unforgettable 10th birthday.
"On the morning my son turned 10 I texted Stephen to ask if he could give him a shout-out," she revealed.
"When he mentioned my Dan on air, it made his day.
"Stephen went out of his way to make a lot of days special for a lot of people, which is why such a wave of sadness washed over the country this week when news broke that he'd very sadly passed away."
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She also said that listening to the Co Antrim man, who progressed from loading lorries, selling conservatories, bartending and teaching English abroad to what he called 'Radioland', was integral to her family's routine.
"A big part of our morning together was listening to Stephen Clements on the radio," she added.
"His humour and enthusiasm would elicit a grin and a few giggles even from my grumpy preteens.
"Many a morning I would arrive at the school gates, only to be met with a refusal to get out until Stephen had finished a funny story he was telling or had revealed the answer to a quiz."
Speaking to this newspaper three days into his new role, Stephen said he felt "a bit like a competition winner" and he also revealed how touched he had been by messages from past listeners who got in contact to say he had helped them when they were going through some dark times.
He added: "For me, to have done that, that's what really matters most."
Prior to his sudden passing, Kerry told how she was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to get to know Stephen, who is survived by his restaurant manager wife Natasha, daughter Poppy (8) and son Robbie (5).
"Over the last few months, since his move to BBC Radio Ulster, I got to know Stephen a little better," she added. "We shared a few stories, a lot of laughs and I loved seeing his photos of his gorgeous children. He was such a proud dad."
She added: "My heart goes out to them and his whole extended family at this incredibly difficult time and my thanks goes to Stephen for all the light and laughter he used to add to our mornings. He'll be very much missed."
His funeral service next week will be for family and friends only.