Woodbridge: Shock at death of community stalwart
TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular sportsman, charity fundraiser, quizmaster and long-serving council employee who died suddenly at the age of 61.
Richard Edwards was taken ill at his home in Woodbridge on Friday and died shortly afterwards. It is believed he suffered a brain aneurysm.
He was a popular and highly-regarded character in the Woodbridge area for his sporting achievements, his role in organising community events and more than 40 years working in local government.
Born and raised in Woodbridge, Mr Edwards had worked for the local council (Woodbridge Urban District Council, which merged into Suffolk Coastal District Council in 1974) since leaving school and was due to take voluntary redundancy from his office job in a few weeks’ time.
He was extremely well-known on the local sporting scene, having played football, cricket and tennis to a good standard.
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Mr Edwards also ran a hugely popular quiz at the The Cherry Tree pub for 15 years and staged regular charity dances and events around the town, at venues including Woodbridge Football Club, raising thousands of pounds.
He was regularly seen cycling round the town, particularly as he never learned to drive.
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His first wife, Sue Edwards, who lives in Kesgrave, said: “He was so well-known in the town – you look at everything he did, it speaks for itself.”
Mr Edwards was always a keen sportsman, and particularly excelled at cricket. He took more than 1,000 wickets for Melton St Audry’s Cricket Club – a club record – and was also a prolific batsman.
Malcolm Grubb, first-team captain for St Audry’s, said: “Richard was a loyal supporter to the club as well as a leading player for many years. To take more than 1,000 wickets for one team is an incredible feat.
“He cycled everywhere and he was always so fit. It’s a real shock and a tragedy that he has died so young.”
Mr Edwards, who was nicknamed Nutty, also played cricket for clubs including Fisons and Deben Valley and football for Melton Old Boys. After retiring from cricket in 2003, he played tennis for Woodbridge.
He also staged a number of charity events for various causes every year. He raised thousands of pounds for The Haemophilia Society after being inspired by the plight of a young neighbour.
In recent years, Mr Edwards spent much time preparing for the weekly quiz at The Cherry Tree, for which there was regularly standing room only at the pub in Cumberland Street.
He lived in Collingwood Road with his second wife, Barbara.
Mr Edwards was married to his first wife for 27 years and they had one son, Michael, 33.