Ex-para dies after 16ft fall

First published in News by

A family is mourning the tragic loss of a father, brother and son following a freak accident at Pinewood Studios last Monday.

Stephen Lowen, 28, was at work dismantling a scaffolding tower on the film set of Thunderbirds at 8.30am on Monday last week, when he was critically injured from a fall of just 16ft.

Stephen, who was well known throughout the film industry, lived his early life in Caishowe Road, Borehamwood and attended the local comprehensive, Nicholas Hawksmoor.

As a youngster, Stephen was in Borehamwood's army cadets. He looked up to his dad, also Stephen, who had served as a Royal Marine. It surprised few then, that after his school years Stephen elected to enter the services joining the Third Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.

Still in shock, his father said: "Our family have been involved in the film business for years, my brothers were riggers, and they both said they have survived falls from higher. He has jumped out of planes all over the world, he only fell 16ft."

Stephen then toured Australia and Canada before returning to England, where he picked up work as a steeplejack. Before long, he got freelance work as a rigger at Pinewood, a job he enjoyed a great deal.

Stephen moved to his own house in Potters Bar, and in 2000, he became the proud father of a baby daughter, Ellie Lowen, now three.

Despite moving from Borehamwood, Stephen remained close to his family, calling in regularly to see his mother Elaine, and his younger brother Geoff, and sister Stacey.

Geoff, 26, who works on film sets as a fibre plasterer, was flown back from Miami when he heard of his brother's accident, and was able to join the family by Stephen's bedside at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

Stephen's life support machine was eventually switched off on Tuesday afternoon with his family gathered beside him.

An inquest into the accident is now in progress, which will include a report from the Health and Safety Executive.

Pinewood studios and the London Eye's film unit both held three minute silences on Monday and Tuesday.

"He was so full of life that he lit up the room, even if he was only somewhere for a short time, people loved him," said his step-mother.

Stephen's funeral took place at Borehamwood's All Saint's Church on Thursday.

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