Stephen Tanswell

Em’s words

I wish I could remember exactly when I first met Steve and Jo. I remember feeling excited to meet them both after hearing about them being larger than life from Junitha (my school friend) and Chris on my return from living in the US after uni. From this moment on Urmston became a firm fixture in my sat nav and Jo and Steve’s the venue of choice over the years for dinner parties, secret seven gatherings, New Year’s Eve, basically anything worth celebrating.

At every occasion at Tanswell Towers Steve would be the perfect host, making you feel instantly at home and plying you with whatever booze we were drinking that night. You could be sure that the night would end in a story and there’d be plenty stories told to keep you entertained about the lads ski trips, poker basement nights, the antics of that particular week, stories of Steve’s pranks on the kids or Jo etc….

I probably got to know and spend most time with Steve through the weddings over the years and most memorably Junitha and Chris’ in Positano where we enjoyed warm Italian evenings away with shots of limoncello, socialising with Steve and watching him take the stage during the wedding reception and subsequent nights and days we were all together. A certain trip back down from the mountain restaurant where he was speaking about his in laws on the bus mic, not aware that both of the minibuses were hooked up and his words broadcast to the wrong crowd will continue he to make me chuckle to this day. We loved getting to know them both and growing closer to Jake and Oliver too.

Steve was without doubt a serial networker, and to his and Jo’s credit the tarts and vicars NYE party they held in 2009 did indeed score me my husband Greg after he was presented with the Spanish Inquisition on arrival at the house that night. Cheers for that one Steve (see more from Greg below!).

Professionally Steve also helped us with some building work over the years bringing in Tomasz and his team to render the walls in our garden built in an interesting bent alignment by his other mate Mike. He also delegated that job to big Jake which meant we got to know him too through this project. For sure these were interesting  days on my first maternity leave with Mia.

When we looked to move from Didsbury into our first family house, we took up the offer of Steve’s to show us round Urmston street by street to tempt us to live closer to their back yard. Nothing was ever too much trouble.

Steve was the King of one liners and giving feedback. You could always guarantee  the truth from Steve whether you wanted it or not. I remember Steve saying to me that when I had Mia, that motherhood suited me in his own confidence boosting/ semi inappropriate Tanswell way!! Similarly on my wedding day he told me I was the fittest bride he’d ever seen. Knowing he said this to all the brides was obvious but he always delivered these compliments in a totally Steve way and we loved him for it.

Steve and I often had chats about the Polish guys he worked with and exchanged (swear) words and traditions as well as the story of my family coming to the uk after the 2nd world war. I was delighted and honoured to have him and Jo at our Warsaw wedding and my memory must have softened somewhat as when I mentioned that I remember Steve being pretty well behaved in Warsaw Jo and Greg reminded me of yet more drop the mic moments. With us through all the big moments in my adult life, he is one of the few who called me by my maiden name, ‘Zukowski’ and that is a greeting I will miss forever. I can still hear him greeting me in this way. 

Our last meeting would have been at this years Christmas cheese and wine party at Lisa’s with the Secret Seven and Daniel. I will always wish that we’d have had that night together, to hear about Steve and Jo’s latest escapades and help them to build on their holiday ahead in Thailand with the kids.

I cannot express in words how much I will miss Steve and the hurt that I feel right now for him leaving this world too soon. I will be eternally grateful to him for every moment we had together and if I had one last wish I’d bring him back in a heartbeat for Jo and the kids. I’m so proud to have called Steve my friend. He was an awesome friend, dad and husband, that was clear to us all. One day we’ll be reunited for that last party. Love you Tanswell, shine bright for us x x x


Greg’s words:


You are quite simply ‘one in a million’!

I will always be indebted to you and Jo for inviting me in to join the fun at your ‘Tarts and Vicars’ themed NYE party in 2010 – what a night it was – including where it all started for Em and me!

There are so many memories of you at your brilliant best! From dancing through the woods at Tatton after watching the Halle (and of course you upstaging music with some theatrics mid-performance) to Positano (for Chris and Junitha’s wedding) and of course your comedic commentary over the bus radio/intercom on the way home!

More recently, my suggestion of a sambuca starter for Lisa’s birthday soon (thanks to you Sir) became a starter for all ‘at a bargain price of £65 per bottle!’. What a party / lock-in that was?!

As others have already said (so poetically!), you lit up every occasion and enriched every event. Thank you


Em and Greg Dickson (Dickowski’s)

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