BUILDING memories was the motto Transplant Games medallist Steve Deakin lived by.

It is a saying that he instilled in his three children from the first moment they arrived in the world.

These priceless memories have helped to make his heartbroken family smile as they come to terms with his sudden death at the age of 57.

Steve collapsed at his home in Great Sankey on March 31 – one month before he was due to walk his eldest daughter down the aisle. 

Doctors believed he suffered a heart attack caused by a blood clot.

His children have now vowed to make sure every day counts – just like their dad would have wanted.

“He lived every day like it was his last,” said daughter Nicola.

“No matter what happened he would always say it’s not the end of the world.

“His favourite saying was ‘building memories’.

“You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t have any memories then what’s the point?”

Steve was a proud Warringtonian and grew up around Bank Quay with parents Jean and Arthur Deakin and siblings Ian, 55, and Jill, 48.

While he has clocked up many medals and trophies over the years, his children were his biggest achievements after welcoming Nicola, 31, Michelle, 28, and Ellis, 14, into the world.

“He was the best dad. Every little girl says their dad is their hero but ours really was,” said Michelle.

“He was our best friend – he couldn’t have done any more for us.”

Former Bewsey High School pupil Steve was like any other dad – but his courage, determination and drive made him stand out from the crowd.

During the early years of his life he was diagnosed with spina bifida and had to make the difficult decision to have his feet amputated. 

“He was always there for me and he would never miss out,” said brother Ian, who counted Steve as his best friend.

“He had operation after operation but he would come out with his cast on and would still play football. 

“He was a lifeboat to many people – he would help anyone.”

But this was just the start of countless hospital visits. 

In the mid 1980s, Steve, who ran Deaks Discos as a DJ, had his first kidney transplant from his dad.

He went on to have two more in 1990 and 2016 – this is while competing with the Royal Liverpool Transplant Sports Team, who he managed for 10 years.

But not one to waste time recovering, he also took part in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, in San Francisco, and swam the English Channel.

“He still worked full-time,” recalled sister Jill.

“You get these people that stub their toe and won’t go into work but that wasn’t Steve.

“He was on a dialysis machine and would still go into work smiling. Sometimes he would work six days a week.

“He had so many operations but he had so many achievements as well.”

Along the way he has picked up bronze silver and gold medals in the British and World Transplant Games as well as receiving an MBE in 2008 for his work as a civil servant.

“It was because he looked after himself – he always kept himself fit,” said Nicola.

“I’m gutted because he had been on dialysis since 2008 to 2016 when he got his third transplant.

“He had his last results at the beginning of March and they were the best they had been.”

The outpouring of support from those who knew him has brought the family some comfort during their darkest hour.

“It’s so humbling that everyone felt the same about him,” said Michelle. 

“It’s nice to know people loved the man who was our dad as we love him so much.”

The funeral will take place at St Elphin’s Church at 11.30am next Thursday, April 26.

The service will move on to Walton Crematorium at 1.40pm

Family flowers only.

To make a donation to the Liverpool Transplant Sports Team in Steve's memory click here.