I am deeply sorry to report that Mike Edwards (‘Ed’), a founder member, past Captain and President of the Club has died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family.
Ed was a National Serviceman based at RAF Cardington, becoming a founder member when the Club was formed in 1960. His attachment and devotion to the Club never dimmed and he has been a constant presence from its inception until his illness prevented him from making the journey from his home in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Ed never missed attending Star Regatta and Head of the River. I doubt that he ever missed supporting the Club at the Tideway Head and he was ever present at ‘Old Blades’ on the Thursday of Henley. He will be sorely missed on Thursdaynights. No more ham, egg and chips and a pint of weak shandy, before organising an impromptu pool tournament, which he often won.
He enjoyed a flutter. Every year we would discuss the Boat Race prospects for both crews and a likely winning margin. Occasionally we got it right and he reaped a handsome reward, which he unfailingly donated to Star Regatta. He was a generous benefactor to the Club.
In his prime, Ed was a gritty, determined oarsman and enjoyed considerable success with the Club at the highest level. He was Captain in 1963 and President for the years 1993-1997. During the latter time, the Club was experiencing severe financial problems that went to the heart of its existence, but thankfully, Ed was able to lead it into more tranquil waters, thereby creating the foundation for today’s more stable existence. He was also Chairman of Star Club Bedford Limited for over twenty years and only retired as a director of the company in 2016. In this role he did so much to help secure the future of the Club.
So many members will have benefitted from his encouragement and wise counsel in relation to matters on both the river and the riverbank. Writing as a former Captain, current President and director of Star Club Bedford Limited, I know from personal experience how much he cared for the Club and how valuable his advice has been to me in all of those positions. Truly he we was a great friend and supporter.
Ed’s wife Rita and his family will have lost an even greater friend and our thoughts will be with them at this time. They and the Club have lost one of the best of men.