THE Perrin family’s 130ft lawn is a sea of tributes, leaving no doubt about the hole left in their lives since 20-year-old Steven passed away.
Dozens of flowers adorn the garden of the house, in Premier Avenue, Grays, remembering the popular former William Edwards School pupil.
Last week, the Gazette told how the young man’s life had been tragically taken after he contracted meningitis.
Steven’s family have since spoken of their immense pride in him – and they painfully recalled the weekend which saw their fit and healthy son taken from them.
Steven’s father, Clive, 50, said: "He was so popular, he had this aura about him that he gave off. We were never aware of just how popular he was. To us he was our son and we loved him unconditionally, 'proud' is not a big enough word to describe how we felt about him."
Luke Jordan, 24, Steven’s cousin, said: “He was hilarious.
“He knew a lot of people and had a big crowd of mates and I don’t know anyone who disliked him.
“He never wanted any praise, he just got on with things.”
On Saturday, January 4, Steven was due to carry out a 12-hour shift at London Gateway port, where he had recently secured a job, but was too unwell. It was thought he had food poisoning from a takeaway he had eaten the night before.
But, as the day wore on, his condition worsened. At about 5pm, Clive went to check on Steven and saw black spots on his chest and neck.
An ambulance was called and paramedics began treating him straight away. He was taken to Basildon Hospital with suspected meningitis.
Clive and Steven’s mother, Sharon, 52, were treated as a precaution, as the type of meningitis Steven had contracted was contagious.
Steven's older brother Craig, who also lives at the family home, was at Heathrow Airport when Steven was taken ill.
He was waiting to board a flight to Dubai but under doctors orders he and his fiancée Jade had to return to Basildon Hospital to be treated, along with Steven's older sister Danielle, as the meningitis he had contracted was contagious.
For two hours on the Sunday morning, Steven’s condition improved slightly. But, in the early hours of Monday, January 6, doctors approached the family and said they had a decision to make.
Steven, was being kept alive by a life-support machine. Meningococcal septicaemia, a form of meningitis, had set in and done irreparable damage.
Clive said: “We sat down as a family and had to make the hardest decision of our lives. We had to think what was best for Steven, not us.
"That was the last time we sat down as a family of five and said our goodbyes to Steven, our wonderful son and brother."
Sea of flowers in the garden of the Perrin family home
Sharon said: “Since then, it’s been overwhelming. We had taken over the intensive care ward, so many of Steven’s friends were there.”
Clive and Sharon added how well Basildon hospital staff had dealt with Steven from the minute the paramedics arrived until he was taken to intensive care.
"We cannot fault anything they did," Clive said, "all the staff worked tirelessly to try and save him."
More than 500 people attended Steven’s funeral in Upminster Crematorium. Many also went back to Orsett Hall after the ceremony. Steven had worked there for almost four years.
Sharon and Clive described the guard of honour outside the crematorium as “mind blowing”.
Steven was a talented goalkeeper, who played for Grays Cosmos and later East Thurrock United, but he was hindered by his height. It was only in the last couple of years that he grew to 6ft 3ins.
He enjoyed playing on his X Box with friends. His parents described him as a hard worker who rarely moaned about anything.
Sharon added: “Since he passed, I’ve been trying to think of negative things about him – to make myself angry.
“But I just can’t. He never did anything wrong.”
THE director of Orsett Hall has paid a special tribute to Steven.
Alan Barnard described him as a "bubbly, bright, hard working lad".
Starting work at the hotel just before his 16th birthday, Steven worked as a pot washer, a chef, a member of the waiting team, bar team and also as a night porter.
Mr Barnard said: “He excelled in each of these roles and enjoyed everything he did.
“He was a bubbly, bright, hard-working young lad who will always be remembered for his smile and happy nature.
“He was a great colleague and friend to many of us here at Orsett Hall and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be greatly missed.”
LONDON Gateway will be holding a dedication ceremony to honour Steven next week.
Simon Moore, London Gateway CEO, said: "Steve was en excellent member of the London Gateway team and had such a bright future ahead of him. Steve started work at London Gateway six months ago without any previous experience in ports and was clearly determined to succeed.
"In this short time he had passed courses on mooring, fork lift, reach stacker and shuttle carrier driving and was working towards being qualified to drive the rail mounted gantry crane.
"We are all proud to have known and worked with Steve and today we are please to welcome Steve’s family to see where he dedicated most of his time over the last few months.
"Next week we will be holding a dedication ceremony, to honour the life of Steve Perrin, a friend, colleague and cherished member of the London Gateway team.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve Perrin’s family and friends as we mourn his passing."