Bay entertainer Steve finds way of bringing memories to life

Torbay entertainer Steve Laister

Torbay entertainer Steve Laister - Credit: Archant

Comedian and entertainer Steve Laister has come up with a heartwarming way of helping families keep in touch.

Steve, who is recovering from a bad bout of Covid-19, has seen much of his income dry up during the pandemic.

He had been due to headline on the luxury cruise ship Regent Seven Seas Explorer but, as can be seen from the Torbay coastline, cruise ship holidays are on hold.

And Steve’s regular venues around the Bay, such as the Babbacombe Theatre, are also closed and hotels have no guests to entertain.

So Steve has come up with a plan to create special videos which can be used for funerals and wakes and to keep in touch with living loved ones.

He explained: “Since March I have done only six gigs as an entertainer.

“So I had to come up with a new way of getting some income.

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“These videos have lots of uses so one side, they can be used at funerals or wakes but equally they can be used to remember someone who was lost years ago.

“And for the living, they can be used for family members who are on their own and for anniversaries and birthdays.”

Friends and family are asked to make their own recordings recalling memories, qualities and thoughts.

Steve compiles the videos, adding photo montages and favourite songs, recorded by him and a team of four other local professional singers.

It started from a video he made to cheer up his mum during the first lockdown.

He said: “It’s not really my skill set as a comedian but each one is getting better.

“I’ve done about six so far, the longest was a just over an hour long and when completed they can be shared on social media.”

“They can be used to cheer up people in care homes, for presents.”

Called Let’s Make A Memory, the videos can also feature old cine film footage.

One video was made for a man who died eight years ago but his children wanted to create lasting memories of him.

It included old cine footage that the children had never seen before.

His youngest child came to Steve’s studio and recorded her father’s favourite song which is on the end of the video.

She had no idea she was recording the song for this video though, it was a massive surprise.

Steve said: “The family have told me it is the very best present they have ever had.

“They played the video on the morning of their dad’s birthday.”

“Another was made for a funeral director who lost his father last year and said his mum would have loved this idea.”

Steve also made a video for the 70th birthday of a woman who lives in Switzerland.

Friends and family from all over the world, who could not be with her in person, joined in to send her birthday greetings.

His fledgling business was interrupted for five weeks when he was struck down with Covid.

For four weeks, he hardly got out of bed having spent one night in hospital.

But his mum and friends came to the rescue bringing food.

He said: “I am genuinely very blessed they looked after me.

“I would encourage people to be nice to each other and don’t leave it too late to tell people how you feel.

“There has never been a better time to tell someone, or even better, show them you care.”

Steve, who has been in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years, began his career travelling the country as a semi-professional snooker player.

He found fame when he won the biggest talent show outside of television in the UK in 2000 Stairway To The Stars.

In 2008 he won the UK’s biggest comedy competition, UK comedian of the year including Sir Norman Wisdom’s Award for Comedy Excellence.

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