Run in tribute to folk dancer and musician

Mike Steel, Sheffield City Morris Men
Mike Steel, Sheffield City Morris Men

MEMBERS of a Sheffield folk dance team are to join the Great Yorkshire Run next month in memory one of their enthusiasts who died of cancer at the age of 58.

Wearing their traditional bells and green trousers, Sheffield City Morris Men will pay tribute to Mike Steel and raise money for Cancer Research.

They may even stop to dance on the route that will take hundreds of runners from Sheffield city centre to Hillsborough and back on Sunday, October 9.

Mike, a father-of two, died last July after a two-year battle with bowel cancer.

He danced and played music for many local folk dance teams during his ten years in Sheffield, including Sheffield City Morris Men, Grenoside Sword Dancers, Sheffield Giants and Mr Fox.

Mike helped with the early development of local teams Boggarts Breakfast and Triskele Rapper dancers. An accomplished musician, he played saxophone for Lizzie Dripping, Nottingham’s Mortimer’s Morris and Cumbria-based ceilidh band Long Meg.

He was an acknowledged expert in sword dancing and on several occasions was a judge for the Dancing England Rapper Tournament and Sword Dance Union competition.

With Sheffield City Morris Men, he went on several trips abroad, including to Hungary and Brussels.

“His commitment to folk dancing and music was unsurpassed,” said John Newman, an ex-member of Sheffield City Morris Men and Grenoside Sword Dancers.

The funeral at Grenoside Crematorium was a colourful event with most of the congregation in their dancing costumes.

Mike’s coffin was led into the chapel by the Grenoside Sword Dancers to the music of the Mortimer’s Morris Musicians and the sword dancers sang their traditional Boxing Day song Tantiro with its ending of “March on ye brave soldier away.”

The wake was held at the Gardener’s Rest, Neepsend and every team he had performed with danced in the yard of the pub.

“It was a fitting send-off and would have brought a smile to Mike’s face,” said John.

Mike was a building manager for the Burton Street Foundation in Hillsborough and was influential in the redevelopment of the site.

A skilled craftsman, he undertook many significant building projects including the extension of the award-winning Kelham Island Tavern.

He had recently started making woodwind instruments.

Mike leaves wife Brenda, who lives in Hillsborough, and daughters Emma and Elizabeth. Brenda will be doing Weston Park Hospital’s Walking as One walk at Don Valley Stadium on Sunday, October 16 in his memory.

Mike and his family greatly appreciated the support that Weston Park Hospital gave him and in particular the support he had in the last days of his life from his GP, the district nurses and the Intensive Home Nursing Service.

John added: “Mike lived life to the full but had so much more to do. He was a larger-than-life character who will be sadly missed.”

At least three members of Sheffield City Morris Men doing the 10k Great Yorkshire Run – Dominic Rice, Pete Delamere and Chris Willan. “About six of us did it for fun two or three years ago and got a good response.

“We stopped to dance at the New Barrack Tavern on Penistone Road going and coming back. We thought we might do it again if there was a good reason and this is a good reason.”

lA Just Giving page for the Great Yorkshire Run is at: