Northern Group

Steve Orme – 1954-2020

Steve Orme, who died in February 2020 just after his 66th birthday, was nothing less than one of the most talented wordsmiths of his generation.

He had the gift to take the reader so deeply into his stories so that one could feel the frisson – a feeling of being involved rather than simply a spectator.

Said newsletter editor David Whinyates: “Steve didn’t just road test a car, he took his readers on a helter-skelter ride through the highways and byways with his terrific sense of humour.”

Yet he would brush any sort of praise aside saying something like “Don’t be daft. It’s only a story.”

But he could tell a good story. He was certainly a journalist through and through dealing with facts; but he had stories running through his veins and surely had some best-selling fiction inside him. We shall never know.

What we were all able to read, between 2016 and 2019, was the column he wrote for our newsletter; an often hilarious insight into his take on our activities.

Steve joined our Group in 1981 while working for the Ormskirk Advertiser Series and later he was one of our motoring writers at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo and a valued contributor to Trinity Mirror’s Driving Force syndication service.

When Driving Force was afforded the opportunity to be the first in Great Britain to drive the FAB1 pink convertible created by Ford for the Thunderbirds movie in 2004 he was the obvious man for the job.

And Steve’s readers were transported into a puppet world of fantasy as he related his test drive experience – not with Lady Penelope but Lady Jan, a colleague at the office who was every bit as stunning as the aforementioned.

On a BMW launch in the south of France we were greeted within the grounds our hotel by a “waiter” serving vinegar but pretending it was fine wine.

Several of us went along with the obvious spoof organised by Raymond Playfoot, a prankster on so many other occasions, and one or two even asked for more.

Not Steve; he coughed, spluttered and spat the offending liquid into a nearby bush and then told the “waiter” what he thought of it. He wasn’t fooled. Accordingly, he was the star of the film recording the spoof which was shown to us all after dinner.

Sadly, Steve suffered a long illness before his untimely death. He is survived by his wife Lesley. He is greatly missed by us all.

Contributed by Alan Domville.

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