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Hundreds remember local footballer Steve
Steve Craddock, circled above, in Abingdon United’s line-up in September 1981 with, clockwise from top left, Roger Haggis, Paul Wellar, Trevor Josephs, Steve Moreton, Dereck Turner, Ronnie Pepperal, trainer Harry Riding, Danny McCreesh, Dav
HUNDREDS of people in Abingdon have been left saddened by the sudden death of a man – despite the fact he moved away 25 years ago.
Former Abingdon United and Oxford City footballer Steve Craddock, 52, was killed in a building accident in America earlier this month.
About 300 family and friends yesterday turned out to remember him at a memorial service at Trinity Church, Abingdon.
Mum Maureen, of Gainsborough Green, Abingdon, said: “After 25 years of being out there he was still so well liked over here.”
Mr Craddock, who was known as Cradds, moved to the family home in Gainsborough Green with his parents when he was three months old.
His dad Doug founded the Saxton Rovers youth football team and it was through the sport that Steve Craddock found so many friends.
School pal Paul Hawthorne, 52, said: “Through his football contacts he had masses of friends.
“We met an awful lot of people through football. Steve was very successful.”
Before the service yesterday Mr Hawthorne told the Oxford Mail: “We are expecting a full house which is hard to imagine as he left these shores over 25 years ago.
“His laughter and smiling face will always be remembered by many.”
Mr Craddock, a midfielder, went on to play at Southampton Football Club under famous 1970s and 1980s manager Lawrie McMenemy.
But he never made it professionally.
The former Larkmead Secondary and Caldecott Primary School pupil, known for his bright blond hair, completed a bricklaying apprenticeship, moved to Florida and started Steve Craddock Masonry.
Mr Hawthorne added: “He built up a reputation very quickly and he flourished.”
Mr Craddock settled and started a family in Port St Lucie, continuing his love for the sport in the US by teaching youngsters.
He had four children – Thomas, 23, James, 21, and 18-year-old twin girls Victoria and Katherine.
Mr Hawthorne said between 300 and 400 people attended his funeral in Florida.
On an online memorial site, sister Sharon Murray, from Oxford, wrote: “Steven, I have always missed you and always will more than you will ever know.
“You will always be in my heart and will always have our memories together.”
And Anne Groom, from Abingdon, said: “A great man, you will be sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing you, x.”
Duncan Barney said: “Steve, We had fun on and off the pitch. Many chats across the pond.”