Since losing Steffan Whitfield (our co-founder) to Multible Myeloma (bone) cancer we have just added £516 donated to ‘Cancer is a Drag’ after the previous £1407 raised for Macmillan cancer charity and £5900 raised for (Cancer Charity) Myeloma UK
SO Total raised by WayOut for cancer charities is £7823
I realise that many of reading this page will never have met Steffan and may not have even heard of Steffan. He was the co-founder of The WayOut Club, an inspiration to all that met him, and my very good friend. I hope this page helps you get to know an extraordinary person, who has helped change so many lives and brought a happy smile to the lips of many more.
He died from cancer in August 2005 and every year near that date (which would have also been his birthday) we hold a cancer charity fund raising night at The WayOut Club . Here is the result of this years event with thanks to all those that contributed money time and talent. Steffan would be VERY proud of all of us …
Lets start here with a video that introduces what Steffan was all about
- SCROLL DOWN for Steffans memorial service which will tell you all about this special person
- CLICK HERE to get to know Steffan through a slide show – there are many more videos featuring Steffan on this our You Tube channel
- CLICK HERE for details of the amazing annual tribute show where we remember him and raised money for a cancer charity in his name, on the night that would have been his birthday.
- CLICK HERE for tributes from the press
- CLICK HERE for tributes from those that knew him
In Memory of Steffan Whitfield 1968 – 2005 – Peace now – no more pain
It is with great sadness that I announce that my wonderful friend Steffan passed away last night at 10pm 29th July 2005.
His peaceful release came after a brave, painful, year long fight with the Cancer – Multiple Myeloma. Steffan passed out of this world surrounded by and embraced by his loving family and friends. In this time of worldly unrest Steffan held high, a torch for non judgemental diversity. He would always say … ” Age, race, background, sexuality and gender should have NO boundaries … … and neither should love “.
His life and his choice of friends and lovers was a testament to his beliefs. His torch will be carried forward by his family and his many friends. This picture taken by his mum was chosen by Steffan to be remembered by. After cremation at a close family funeral at South London Crematorium & Streatham Park Cemetery 12th August, on 15th August 2005, a ‘Ceremony in Memoriam of Steffan Whitfield’ was held for friends and family at Charlie’s the venue Steffan had enjoyed working in since taking The WayOut Club there in 1999. The following outlines this very special ceremony. Tears were shed and laughter shared as we all expressed ourselves the best we could.
In Memory of Steffan Whitfield – The Memorial Service
Introduction and welcome by Vicky Lee
Hello everyone. We are here today – to commemorate and to celebrate the life of Steffan Whitfield who passed away
on Friday the 29th July at the age of 39 and was laid to rest last week.
This evening we will each prepare ourselves in the company of Steffan’s friends, family and loved ones, to release our earthly connections with him, and begin to establish new and different connections, through our hearts and memories and feelings about him. Today we will lovingly acknowledge, his life and his great contribution, to the lives he touched in his time on this earth.
A Quotation (By Philip Kapleau) Was read by Richard O’Brien
(Candles were lit while ‘Candle in the wind’ was played)
Consider a burning candle: its life is also death; death and life constantly interact.
Just as one cannot experience true joy without having suffered great pain, so life is impossible without death,
for they are a single process. Death is life in another form.
Steffan’s Eulogy was read by (Vicky’s partner) Lesley
Steffan’s celebrated career started at the tender age of 6 with the ‘Children’s Theatre Company of London’, where he received professional training in stage craft and make-up. With the company he featured in shows including ‘Oliver’ and ‘The Sound of Music’. One part he was most proud of was that of Prince Charming.
The costume he wore in this role he kept, and was worn again by Mario in a WayOut Club Panto in 2002.
He was soon tasting commercial success appearing in major advertising campaigns including; ‘Golden Wonder’ crisps, ‘C&A’, and ‘Woolworth’s’ and ‘Ready Brek’ he was ‘The Ready Brek Kid’. With these experiences behind him it was full steam ahead for ‘The Golden Wonder’ … as they called him at school. At 15 Steffan directed his first music video for Harry Kakouli from ‘Squeeze’. He appeared in many other artists videos including’ ‘The Thompson Twins’, ‘Bonnie Tyler’, ‘Barbara Striesand’, ‘Pet Shop Boys’ and ‘Martine McCutchen’ to name but a few. At 17 Steffan signed his first recording contract with Elton John’s label ‘Rocket Records’, along with Steve Grant and Chris Brannon. The group was called ‘Splash’ and they had considerable success in Europe, with a number one in France. Steffan’s first appearance in DRAG was In 1986 at the ‘Night of 1000 Frocks’ contest at London’s ‘The Hippodrome’. Legend has it that Peter Stringfellow bet him he would not enter the contest. Steffan, in a dress, made for him by his mum Bonnie, won the competition that changed his life. (And he won the bet with Peter). Steffan said of this time in a recent interview “I got such an overwhelming reception when I went on stage and it was at this moment that I knew what I wanted to do.” …
A great fan of New York style “female impersonation” Steffan wowed London for two years with his ‘Marilyn’s Hollywood Revue’. Maddona was his next inspiration and Frazer and Miss Karla joined him for ‘The Man-Donna Show’. Vicky Lee was his next recruit and as ‘Dragmania’ the foursome toured together successfully for three years developing a unique style of show. In 1992, Steffan won “Miss Fire Island” in the USA. … Steffan said of this time “Working as a drag artist in the USA is so much more rewarding. Your audience really do let you know their appreciation of what you do.” Throughout this time Steffan fronted night-clubs for various promoters. During 1993 Steffan was asked not only to front but to run Sunday night ‘Bolts at The Hippodrome’. To achieve this he asked Vicky Lee to join him and it was here that a symbiotic union of was formed and was spotted by venue manager Lee Whitby who offered them regular use of her venue in Goodge Street where Steffan and Vicky started together ‘The WayOut Club’ for “boys, girls and inbetweenies”. At the beginning of 1995 Steffan with Miss Karla and Frazer became ‘Total Re-Call’ refining and perfecting the Dragmania formula, taking it nationwide, doing residencies at ‘Funny Girls’, and overseas in venues in Ibiza and Geneva.
In 1998 Steffan spotted the rise of ‘The Spice Girls’ and was soon in their footsteps with the ‘The WayOut Spice Girls’. The ‘girls’ with Steffan as ‘Geri’ appeared at some of the biggest venues in the UK including; ‘The Dorchester Hall’, ‘The Grosvener House Hotel’ and ‘The Royal Albert Hall’. Steffan and the ‘girls’ even collected awards for the real ‘Spice Girls’ and cameoed in ‘Spiceworld’ the movie and in this one year appeared on over 30 different television shows returning four times to Richard and Judy’s This Morning show – On one appearance Richard Madely said to Steffan and the ‘girls’ “We have a picture of you all – at home on our fridge”. When Geri Haliwell appeared at G.A.Y she reunited with the Spice Girls – The WayOut Spice Girls and Steffan, in the famous Union Jack dress, proudly carried her across the stage.
Steffan loved The WayOut Club and enjoyed 12 non stop years of this promotion using it as a base for his creativity, and the opportunity, to develop other performers, and to springboard other projects like; ‘The WayOut Spice Girls’, ‘Technoglam’, ‘Exotica’, ‘Cabaret Extravaganza’ and ‘House of Drag’.
Steffan’s Beliefs were summarized by Vicky Lee
Steffan would always say that at The WayOut Club
“Age, race, sexuality, gender have NO boundary and … neither does LOVE”
But this was also his life’s belief – his creed It went far beyond the doors of the club. Steffan lived this creed through his choice of friends and lovers.
He touched many lives, enriching them with his love for diversity.
The level at which he gave un-conditional love has been an inspiration to us all.
He challenges us to carry forward this message, and live it in our lives.
In recent interviews with both Vibeke and Jodie, Steffan said;
“If I manage to educate one person in my life – about living outside of the box that society tries to put us in – then I will have done some good.”
A Poem was read in Tribute by Vicky Lee with help from Miss Ambre
(‘The very Spirit of Steffan’ by Vicky Lee)
Beautiful Spirit – in face – that’s so true –
But so much deeper – In soul beauty too.
His spirit so big – so full of joy –
Born to be-friend – As a girl OR a boy.
With so such love of di-versity –
He loved you – And he loved me.
Spirited Diva – Big Ego – that’s true –
But inside no bigger –
Than me – or you.
Mischievous Spirit – surrounded by fuss –
Setting challenges – And testing us.
His joy he spread through crea-tivity –
He inspired you – He inspired me .
Teaching us always to forget and forgive –
To overcome – To live and let live.
He created new hope through opportunity –
He did it for you – He did it for me.
Proud private Spirit – All the way along –
Fragile like us – But making us strong.
Wonderful Spirit – So very alive –
Fighting – so hard –
Fighting hard to survive.
Now his Spirit has gone to rest –
He’s done so much – He’s done his best.
His Spirit lives now in eternity –
He lives in you –
And he lives in me.
So rest wondrous Spirit but stay by my side
Sit here on my shoulder and en-joy the ride.
Further Tributes were made in person and in writing (read by Lesley)
(During this section a slide show was run with instrumental background music
that had very special significance to Steffan)
Jamie aka Titch – If diamonds are a girls best friend then yu were truely the finest gem ever to be found,
i’ll love you always
Luke aka Miss Kitty – Steffan you were the greatest role model and through everything you taught us, you will live on in us.
Mark aka Ms Debonair You were my inspiration, my shining star, you gave me direction and showed me the way. You helped me be who I am today for this i am truely thankful – each and every day, shining star, my guardian angel Steffan.
Maria – You are an inspiration to me and many others. You are sorely missed, but forever in my heart
Giles (akaSarah Lloyd) – You gave me the dreams and creativity for all things theatrical
Pandora, Yoshi and Miss Fallou – My Best Friend Steffan
My best friend, Sister, Brother and martini partner. Encourager of Jacuzzi’s, Versace and Holly Hunter Movies. We always laughed until we cried, and cried until we were dry. We always loved, never rowed and always laughed. Because of this you left a huge hole in my life, I didn’t know how to fill, and then I realised, that space will always be there for you. Only you. Goodbye my dear Steffan, I will always love and never forget you for a single day. Thank you.
Emma – You were a Diamond to all you knew, you were the Diamond that grew, that much is true, and you will live forever, be a Star for all to see, as i know you will Shine Down for us to see.
Love Always Emma x
Lesley (Vicky Lee’s partner) – I do not believe that we need to say goodbye to our friends when they die. I believe that they live on with us in our hearts and minds affecting our actions for the rest of our lives. In this way they stay with us and live on in this world. Anyone who knows me will be aware of my passion for contributing to making the world a fairer and more inclusive place. This is a belief that I share with Steffan. He truly promoted respect for diversity in everything he did. This part of him will remain with me, to give me strength in my efforts to challenge discrimination and promote inclusion. Thank you Steffan.
Kenny – (Steffan’s Boyfriend 2000 to 2005) My mother asked me to describe Steffan to her. This is what I told her … Steffan taught me to cuddle to have fun in love and Steffan is my everything.
Exit from Ceremony by Vicky Lee
Easter bank holiday weekend was a particularly difficult time for Steffan as after months of painful treatment he was clearly told his prognosis and he thought he would die that weekend. That weekend many of us dreamt of respite for Steffan.
I stood that Sunday in my garden (a very tranquil space) the sun shone and the water trickled into the pond at the feet of a statue of Buddha. My two Spaniels lay at my feet and this soothed me … I sat andwished with all my heart that Steffan could join me and enjoy this respite. I spoke to Paul McClement on the phone and he said “I want to take Steffan to the mountains to smell the heathers and the fresh air and feast on the tranquil views”.
We then laughed together – because we both knew that in my garden Steffan would have said “can’t you turn that fountain off its so loud” and on the way to the mountains he would have said to Paul”what on earth are we are doing out here”. Later that same afternoon Steffan surprised me with a text inviting me to the hospital for a party for his friend Chris Smith. In the hospital television room Steffan had arranged for bottles of bubbly and cakes.
He sat back quietly enjoying the chitter chatter between a small, but perfectly formed, and as usual, diverse group of family and friends. It was at that moment I realised that this was his choice of respite Bringing friends together with a few fondant fancies and an aperitif, this was his heaven.
So this evening he would be very happy if we linger a while to share a drink and some chitter chatter.
In spirit, I know he is with us now and will always be with us – on all such future occasions.Before we break and share some time together, lets remember and celebrate Steffan one more time with this short video. (a short video tribute was run)
CLICK HERE to view the Movie