Sheffield family’s heartbreak after inspirational festival organiser and ‘local legend’ dies

A ‘selfless’ Sheffield music festival organiser, who helped hundreds of young performers throughout his lifetime, has died aged 65.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 5:05 pm

Steve Osborn dedicated much of his life to bringing music and the arts to the communities of Stocksbridge and Deepcar.

As director of the Valley Music Festival – which is now in its third year – he also worked closely with those in Fox Valley to provide funds for music education in schools and to award scholarships to pay for a year's worth of music lessons for disadvantaged children.

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Steve Osborn, pictured with his teenage sweetheart and wife Hilary, who have both been credited with supporting hundreds of people through Inyerface Arts

Elsewhere he voluntarily ran the not-for-profit organisation Inyerface Arts alongside his wife of 43 years, singing teacher Hilary Osborn, which the pair set up in 2001, as well as volunteering with Steel Valley Beacon and coordinating music exams for London College of Music for Sheffield and Chesterfield.

He passed away suddenly on Saturday, June 13, shortly after developing acute pancreatitis.

Steve’s daughter, Charlotte Proctor, said: “The messages of support and fondness for him have completely overwhelmed us all. The most poignant have been from now adults who have credited him as having a massive part in their personal success through his efforts.

“The words 'wonderful', 'inspiration', 'selfless' have come back again and again. He had a fervent belief that the arts could change lives, and with his hard work and dedication, they have.”

Steve Osborn, director of Valley Music Festival, has passed away aged 65

Originally from Oxfordshire, Steve always harboured a love for the arts and often enjoyed a trip to the theatre.

He moved to Sheffield in 1981 with his wife Hilary and they ‘never wanted to go back’ because of their love for the city, according to Charlotte.

Steve is said to have been inspired by Hilary when it came to supporting the musical talents of young people with the pair having helped hundreds of youngsters ‘thrive and grow’ over the years.

Charlotte added: “I think it was my mum's drive that inspired him. She had to fight for her music education because her parents didn't agree with music or believe in music so she put herself through singing lessons as a child.

Steve Osborn, pictured left, has been described as 'wonderful', 'selfless' and an 'inspiration'

“He just saw how much she got out of it and said ‘we need to do this’ and he loved the local carol tradition around Sheffield and didn’t want that to die so it started with that and went from strength to strength.

“The music festival was his brainchild. He decided that Stocksbridge needed a Tramlines because there was so much talent and music. It started with a few concerts but they got on board with Fox Valley last year and twinned it with their food festival so we had a massive food and music festival.”

Now in its third year, the Valley Music Festival took place on June 13 albeit virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic – with Steve sadly not able to see the results of his hard work.

A fundraising page has been set up with an original target of £2,000 to fund eight scholarships for disadvantaged children, but Steve’s family say they have been humbled as the target has since been surpassed with a current total of nearly £2,500.

Steve set up the Valley Music Festival, which is now in its third year, helping to showcase the musical talents of people in Stocksbridge, Deepcar and the surrounding areas

The festival committee has also decided that this will provide a scholarship in his name for the next 10 years.

Steve leaves behind his wife Hilary, two daughters Kate and Charlotte, sons-in-law Steve Franklin and Barry Proctor, as well as four grandchildren.

Due to the coronavirus, only a limited number of people will be allowed at Steve’s funeral. His family are planning to celebrate Steve’s life with a ‘Steve Fest’ later in the year which, Charlotte says, will be a “good knees up, with a good drink, and a band on.”