Rugby in Newcastle and the wider region received a huge boost this week with the introduction of Stephen the Seahorse, the city’s mascot for major rugby events.
Appearing at the ‘Three Months to Go’ event for the Newcastle 2019 Finals, Stephen proved an instant hit with those present and already has an army of fans, both young and old.
Stephen will be present at The Big One (Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks) at St. James’ Park on 23 March. He will also be attending a number of forthcoming community visits and the Trophies Tour for the Newcastle 2019 Finals. Stephen is also angling to get involved in the England v Italy International in September this year and the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
Stephen was chosen as the official mascot as seahorses are present on the city crest, on top of the Civic Centre and other architecture throughout Newcastle, and on the Newcastle United FC club badge. He beat off a host of other applicant mascots including a badger, a pair of Shetland ponies and an argumentative aardvark called Alan from Alnwick.
Stephen’s name comes from the amalgamation of two ancient Geordie/Northumbrian phrases – ‘Ste’ which means ‘Howay the’ and ‘phen’ which is translated as ‘lads and lasses’.
Commenting on his appointment, a euphoric Stephen said: “This is wonderful news, I’m looking forward to representing the city and both codes of rugby through these exciting times, with all of the enthusiasm and energy that only a Seahorse can!
“I’ve seen a few strange comments on social media about why has a seahorse been chosen, but what could be more natural than a seven-foot tall grey and purple furry marine-based creature?”
Speaking about the role he intends to bring to all the forthcoming major rugby events, Stephen added: “We all know what a great city and region we live in, and what fantastic sports rugby union and rugby league are.
“I look forward to telling the world all about our wonderful city, its vibrant nightlife, the great shopping, the restaurants, history and culture, fantastic travel connections and accommodation and the wonderful countryside and coastline on our doorstep. Any my favourite rivers and coves where I hang out!”
Stephen is currently undergoing training to increase the time he can spend out of water.
Stephen the Seahorse Factfile
First Name: Stephen
Middle Names: Keegan Ant Knopfler Nail Gazza Dec Shearer Sting. But just shorten it to ‘The’
Weight: Oi, don’t get personal!
Born: River Tyne
Likes: Newcastle, all sports but mainly rugby and swimming
Dislikes: Being sad. People always then ask me ‘Why the long face?’
Favourite food: Small crustaceans, seaweed, Greggs steak bake, pease pudding.
Favourite drink: Sea water, river water, Newcastle Brown Ale
Favourite colours: Black and white
Favourite TV programme: Neigh-bours
Star sign: Aquarius
Status: Single, but looking for an aquatic-based romance in the future
Three ideal dinner guests:Jacques Cousteau, TV weatherman Michael Fish and Nemo (if I can find him)
Twitter handle: @StephenSeahorse