Loyal, kind and a huge character with a great sense of humour – these are just some of the words used to describe Stephen Carey.
The Alnmouth lad’s death last week, after he collapsed playing football, has left all who knew and loved him devastated.
And in an overwhelming display of respect to well-known Stephen, tributes have poured in for the life-loving 21-year-old.
His girlfriend of over three-and-a-half years, Nikki Kim, spoke of the pain of losing her ‘soul mate’.
She said: “He was amazing. We shared some great memories and he gave me the best three-and-a-half years I could have asked for.
“He was my best friend, my soul mate, my first love.”
One of Stephen’s closest pals, Scott McEwan, was another who spoke highly of ‘genuine’ and ‘fantastic’ Stephen.
“He was always there for you and everyone was fond of him.
“He had a great sense of humour and everyone wanted to be around him,” said Scott.
Stephen was a huge football fan. As well as supporting Newcastle United, he represented Alnmouth FC – playing for both the Saturday side, Alnmouth United, and the Sunday team, Alnmouth Argyle.
Speaking on behalf of the club, United manager Sean Henderson paid his respects to the talented midfielder.
He said: “Stephen was a tremendous young man with a great personality.
“He loved football and he had the ability to play at a higher level but he chose to play with his mates.
“We are absolutely devastated and we will miss him.”
Stephen worked at Iceland, in Alnwick, and duty manager Nigel Short, said: “There wasn’t a bad thing about him.
“He would do anything for anyone.”
Stephen’s Facebook page has been inundated with touching messages of condolence and his family have been left ‘overwhelmed’ by all the support they have received, which includes a host of cards.
His stepfather, Chris Bowman, said: “We knew he was loved – he always had a laugh and a joke – but we didn’t realise just how loved he was.
“It is so comforting.”