Steve Evans: The only pressure on me now is to be alive
[gallery] Steve Evans, who worked for Wolverhampton City Council, captured the nation's hearts today in an emotional BBC interview about his battle with cancer. Here, we republish an interview with Steve that first appeared in the Express & Star in January.
When Steve Evans was in hospital being treated for cancer, a nurse came in to see him with an odd message. "There's a man on the phone who reckons he's Ken Dodd", she said – and that's because it was.
Steve, aged 51, has spent 32 years working as a building surveyor for Wolverhampton City Council. But, as a sideline for more than a decade, he has been working at the Civic Halls, a job that has involved looking after some of the big name stars to grace the stages there.
It started out as a job "ripping" tickets in exchange for seeing shows for free but quickly progressed into making sure the artists were well looked after.
He counts Jimmy Carr and John Bishop as friends and has known Oldbury's Frank Skinner since 1989, when he took a comedy course at Halesowen College taught by the former host of Fantasy Football League.
Scroll down to see Steve's BBC interview
Jimmy Carr dedicated a recent show at the NEC to "my friend Steve Evans" while Jim Davidson mentioned Steve during a performance at the Grand Theatre.
John Bishop recalled Steve as having looked after him when he performed in front of 160 people in the Civic Hall bar, only to return a year later for a sell out gig in the main hall.
The father of two was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year which has forced him to give up work. But he has gone back to the civic halls as a volunteer concierge, helping disabled people and others who need assistance to get around.
Steve said: "I'm living a normal life and keeping busy.
"I basically imagine my cancer as an enormous heavy sack that I have to keep carrying around with me.
"It doesn't mean I can't do anything, but it does mean I get tired.
"But having friends and family means I can share the weight and I'm very lucky in that respect."
Steve, of Old Fallings Lane in Wednesfield, has been a performer himself as compere of the Civic's comedy nights and as a magician doing cabaret, children's parties and corporate dinners as "the man from the council".
When he retired, 400 people including the then Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Bert Turner attended his leaving party, which was held in the Wulfrun Hall.
Now he is back as a volunteer and able to share the benefit of his experience in organising major events such as the City Show and Wolvestock.
Steve said that thanks to the way he had been treated by Wolverhampton City Council, which allowed him to retire on a full pension, he is able to concentrate on his health and on spending time with his wife of 27 years, Septina and daughters Megan, 25, and Lauren, 20.
He said: "The only pressure on me now is to be alive. That means I can make the most of it.
"It could be an idyllic life, even though it may be a short one.
"I've been able to go back to the civic halls to help people who have mobility problems or other things that restrict what they can do.
"The good thing about it is that, with what has been happening to me, I understand their circumstances more than they might think."
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