Tragic death of the man
who made rapper dancing possible

The rapper world is reeling from the sudden and tragic death this month of Steve Marris. Better known to many under his trading name of Specialised Products, Steve supplied swords to most teams, both in this country and North America.

Steve suffered a heart attack on July 7th during a walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales with his partner Janet. Over the next few days, he suffered first a stroke and then a series of further heart problems, which ultimately took their toll. Aged just 49, he was just days from his 50th birthday.

Phil Heaton was amongst the 200 mourners who attended the funeral in Sheffield on July 23rd and, through him, The NUT was able to arrange flowers on behalf of the "rapper fraternity".

Steve came across rapper swords when he served his apprenticeship with the Sheffield Cutlers & Allied Trades Association. Dismantling a Tyzack sword to find out how it was constructed, he took up the sword-making tradition from where Tyzack's left off. For many years, he was the sole supplier of rapper swords.

Steve's well-organised workshop was legendary. From here, he also turned out superb precision engineered O guage model railway locomotives and his products will be greatly missed in the modelling world.

Although few dancers knew Steve personally, it is only thanks to his efforts that the vast majority of us have been able to enjoy our hobby. We hope to publish a full obituary will appear in the next issue.

Interim enquiries about possible sword manufacturing successors to Steve Marris should be directed through Phil Heaton (tel 01332 874186) for the time being. Very limited supplies of swords continue to be available from Frank Lee subject to suitable steel being available. Contact him at "Leafield", Market Place, Brampton, Cumbria CA8 1TL (tel 016977 2649).