Death of ex-St Andrews student shocks community

Steven in action on the rugby field.
Steven in action on the rugby field.
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Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a former St Andrews University student, Steven Sims, who died tragically at the weekend at the age of only 23.

They were led by principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, who said that his sudden death had come as a shock to the whole university and also the wider community.

Steven, who worked for a sports firm, died in hospital in Edinburgh after a very minor injury led to complications from a rare and previously undiagnosed blood condition.

Steven, who graduated in psychology last year from St Andrews, was a former captain of its First XV rugby team and as a sports coach was known to many local youngsters.

Such was his popularity at St Andrews that student friends are already discussing a lasting memorial to him.

Professor Richardson said: ”Steven’s death has come as a terrible shock to his teammates, his friends at St Andrews and to colleagues in the Department of Sport and Exercise.

“By all accounts, Steven was a bundle of athletic and academic energy whose enthusiasm for sport and St Andrews was infectious. As well as captaining our First XV, he was a former treasurer and club captain and a member of the Scottish Students’ rugby squad who played against Scotland under-20s in 2010.

“He was also a member of the St Andrews team which toured South Africa and Argentina and a sports coach who worked with us for three summers on the Junior Saints holiday programmes.”

Even after graduating, Steven remained an avid fan of St Andrews RFC. He was present to see the club claim promotion and its first piece of silverware for 15 years, an achievement for which he laid the foundations when he captained the team last year.

Professor Richardson concluded: ”I know that the entire St Andrews community joins me in extending our deepest condolences to Steven’s family at this enormously difficult time. His friends are already talking about a fitting and lasting tribute in St Andrews to this remarkable young man.”

Known everywhere by his nickname of “Simsy,” Steven used to combine his love of sport with his love of music. He was a member of the Fife Constabulary Pipe Band and he could often be seen and heard practising on the pipes and drums at the university sports centre.

One rugby friend said: ”Simsy was without a doubt a true leader of St Andrews University Rugby Club, a great servant to the town of St Andrews but, most importantly, was a loyal and selfless friend who made an impact on so many of our lives.”

His funeral will be held on June 8 at St Columba’s Church, in Blackhall, Edinburgh.

The service will begin at 1pm.