News

A tribute to Mr. Brian Edwards, Model Citizen


Date published: Mon 25 Jan 2021   Author: HLH/SGE   Category: News   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email


A tribute to Mr. Brian Edwards, Model Citizen

A tribute from Mr. Reeve, Head Teacher of The Bishop’s Stortford High School

“The Bishop’s Stortford High School were very saddened to learn of the passing of Rotarian and friend of the school Brian Edwards.  Brian was such a kind and generous man, a lovely human being. His contribution to our school cannot be underestimated. I will be forever grateful for the way he helped to inspire so many Interacters over the years and led the way with Interact. He certainly demonstrated the Black & Gold spirit. May he now rest in peace.”

A tribute from Simon Etheridge and TBSHS Interact

“Brian Edwards was a model citizen.  He wore his greatness so lightly.

With Mr. Shaw as a member of Rotary, and with the support of the Chair of Governors, Jim Tee, The Rotary Club of Bishop’s Stortford resolved back in the early 1990’s to inaugurate an Interact Club at The Bishop’s Stortford High School.   Mr. Shaw, who always acknowledged his debt to his predecessors, set the standards, ethos and template for the school, which Mr. Reeve enhances further today.  Our school have greatly benefited in numerous ways from the “service above self” actions of Bishop’s Stortford Rotary Club and the Rotarians past and present.  None more than Brian Edwards.  

It was Brian Edwards who set the standards, ethos and template for the Interact Club year after year. Based on his work and life experience, Brian encouraged deadlines, timelines, taking responsibility (based on his managerial experience in France), “high quality problems” and student leadership. Brian was a brilliant teacher, leader and manager of staff and students alike.  We, I, learnt so much from him. He cared for others and was genuinely interested in others.  His pastoral care was outstanding. Brian took time.  He encouraged others and made people feel better about themselves.  As such, the lives of staff and students were greatly enriched (Rotary in action) and enhanced as Brian’s Interact empowered, enthused and inspired students and staff with his perfect balance of standards and care.  Without Brian Edwards, TBSHS’ Interact Club would not have thrived at home and abroad. 

For one symbolic instance amongst so many, he greatly, greatly encouraged “Showcase” every year from its inception in 2000. When former student Greg James, now presenter of “The Radio 1 Breakfast Show”, as well as cricket presenter, children’s author and multi-million pound fundraiser, remembered highlights of his school career to future sixth formers on the “zoom” platform in the summer, he mentioned presenting  “Showcase” in 2003.  Greg would present the BBC’s “Children In Need” programme some fourteen years later, also on a Friday night. 

Whatever Brian did was absolutely brilliant. From suggesting the inspirational Norma Symonds as a guest speaker to the meticulous checking of Interact meetings and finances to the leading and empowering charity events and ideas at home and at the other side of the world to the nurture of students and staff.  Thanks to the humble good citizenship of Brian Edwards, who wanted no recognition, an honours board in the School Hall timelessly celebrates inspirational student leaders and legends (and their families) that have inspired, and still inspire,  us all.  Such students have gone on to lead in their university and working life and their experience in Interact was formative and their inspiration in the school.  Interact was often the thing that kept these students going, an example of the student leadership Brian was ahead of his time in nurturing,  and they will feel indebted to a person who gave of his time voluntarily and ceaselessly. Brian was interested in others not himself. He was a model of pastoral care.

Very appropriately, Brian’s last two years coming into school saw truly outstanding student leadership. These students, and many other students before them, and their families inspired us, and still do today. Brian Edwards created the platform, the stage, for this to happen. We, and the wider community, all benefited.   Even when he was not able to come into school for Interact in recent years, Brian still took a great interest and worked alongside the excellent Richard Hartley. Richard continues Brian’s legacy in a wonderful way he would be so proud. 

Brian Edwards leaves the greatest and most wonderful legacy as the brilliant tribute of Mr. Stock (another key inspirer of us)  below shows. “Peace” was the final word Brian would often say, with a smile, after  a meeting and handshake. Brian lived peace and brought peace, the greatest gift, and we hope he now rests in peace. A truly great person and a pillar of the community, always so professionally and respectfully presented, Brian’s legacy is so perfectly summarized by Mr. Reeve’s tribute,

Brian Edwards, the model citizen, was loved by TBSHS staff and students alike.  Brian Edwards was and always will be Interact.”

BRIAN ALFRED EDWARDS OBITUARY

Written by Mr. Rodney Stock  (Friend, Rotarian, Former Chair of Governors).

Brian was born on the 19th August 1936 and died earlier this month at the age of 84, having lived a full and active life and leaving so many of us with so many happy and long lasting memories.  Brian lived the Objects of Rotary in all that he did and was a true friend to so many of us.   A successful career in pushing the boundaries of telecommunications with STL, STC, Nortel in their various guises followed by an equally busy life in retirement.  

Brian joined our Club in February 1996 on the proposal of his then near neighbour and friend, Jim Tee, and proceeded to contribute in so many ways to the life of our Rotary Club, not least during a very full year as our President 2008/09.   Notable milestones in Rotary include his organisation of a very successful speaker evening with Norma Major in support of young careers, his long distance sponsored walk with Peter Scarlett across Scotland in support of the children of Oaxaca, Mexico and his President’s Night at Selwyn College, Cambridge when a large attendance was a mark of the regard in which Brian was held by the members of this Club.   Brian was involved in mock interviews at The Bishop’s Stortford High School in the days when interviews were spread over the academic year rather than, as now, concentrated in just one morning and was awarded a well-earned Paul Harris Fellowship in June 2013.

It is his interest in, and wholehearted support for, Interact for which Brian is best remembered by Rotary.   Brian worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to enthuse and mentor generations of Interactors from The Bishop’s Stortford High School;  many are the embryonic treasurers of TBSHS Interact Club who would have been lost without Brian’s involvement on a day to day basis, showing how financial records should be maintained and banking made on a regular basis.   Indeed, numerous were the occasions on which Brian would take large, and consequently very heavy, bags of cash to the bank on Interact’s behalf. It was Brian who, working in tandem with Simon Etheridge, enabled Interactors to see the wider picture of service and to appreciate that service was every bit as important as fundraising.

There were so many other activities filling Brian’s life in retirement including bell ringing, principally at Thorley and Much Hadham churches and the dedication of much time to teaching newcomers the rudiments of, and enjoyment to be gained from, campanology;  Yoga, Long Distance walking (including the 200 mile Coast to Coast in England, the ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro and trekking to Machu Picchu) and the Civic Federation of which Brian was an enthusiastic supporter and Committee Member.   In addition, Brian took justifiable pride in the achievements of his two sons and their families and kept in close contact with them.

To all of these interests, and others, Brian gave generously of his time, ensuring that others could gain from participation.   Less well known, perhaps, is Brian’s generosity, behind the scenes, in monetary terms, wherever and whenever he identified a person or cause to be benefitted.   A friend to many, including the residents of “his road” Westfield Road here in Bishop’s Stortford.   He is already much missed but we are all the richer in spirit for having known him and privileged to have had his friendship.

 

  Left: Brian Edwards with students James Nash and Eli Haines, 2017

 

                                              Below:  “Brian’s Honours Board”at TBSHS

 

 

 

 

 

 

The funeral of Mr. Brian Edwards was held at Parndon Wood Crematorium on Saturday 30th January 2021 at 11.15 am

En route to the funeral, the cortege circled and stopped at The Bishop’s Stortford High School where Mr. Etheridge paid respects on behalf of the school past, present and future. 

The service was moving, beautiful and inspiring in presentation, words and music.  Please see the  attached.  Thank you to Mr. Stock for this.

Tributes from Brian’s family, from Brian’s sons and nephew, and read so perfectly by his nephew, were the inspirational centre of a very moving and beautiful service.

The service was watched around the world, from Australia to the United States of America.

The school is very grateful to following students, current and former, who showed their support by attending the funeral “virtually”:

·         Simon, Interact President 2001/2002
·         Stephen, Interact President, 2008/2009
·         Andrew, Interact Treasurer, 2008/2009
·         Tom, Interact Treasurer, 2011/2012
·         Scarlett, Interact President, 2015/2016
·         Bradley, Interact President, 2015/2016
·         Amie, Interact President, 2015/2016
·         Dixie, Interact President, 2016/2017
·         Oliver, Interact President, 2020/2021
·         Daniel, Interact President, 2020/2021
·         Kieran, Interact Treasurer, 2020/2021
·         Sam, Interact Vice-President, 2020/2021
·         Archie, Interact Leader, 2020/2021
·         Daniel, Interact Leader, 2020/2021
·         Rudy, Interact Leader, 2020/2021
·         Sam Richardson, Year 10 student volunteer, 2020/2021.

 Support was also given by:

  • Marie, Interact President,  2016/2017
  • Nicholas, Interact Treasurer, 2016/2017

The support of these students says everything about them, and their families. 

This support says even more about Brian Edwards, whom they worked with. 

Mrs. Landers and Mr. Etheridge represented the school at the “virtual” funeral.

The school continues to be grateful  all members of the Rotary Club, particularly Mr. Stock and Mr. Hartley, for their excellent support.

The school would like to pay tribute to all care home staff for all the wonderful work they do and to those who look after those who have passed away in wider society and their families .

The school will continue the outstanding legacy of Mr. Brian Edwards who will continue to inspire and guide.

The school’s thoughts continue to be with all those who suffer and serve, and all those who have suffered and served, at this time and always.

Those we love and have loved in our community will continue to inspire.

Associated Documents
PDF Document Order of Service Brian Edwards, 30th January 2021

Order of Service Brian Edwards, 30th January 2021

PDF link: http://www.tbshs.org/docs/10144-OrderofServiceBri.pdf