Oak tree to be planted in memory of former pupil 50 years on from his death

A teenager who died 50 years ago is to be remembered in the form of an oak tree in the grounds of his former school.

Rob McBride, left, with Colin's father John Edwards, friend Sandra Thomas, sister Tracy Davies, friend Richard Thomas, best friend Mike Howard, brother Bryan Edwards, and brother Alan Edwards, at Lakelands Academy, Ellesmere..
Rob McBride, left, with Colin's father John Edwards, friend Sandra Thomas, sister Tracy Davies, friend Richard Thomas, best friend Mike Howard, brother Bryan Edwards, and brother Alan Edwards, at Lakelands Academy, Ellesmere..

Colin Edwards was diagnosed with spinal cancer and died aged 13 on June 14, 1972.

He remains in the memories of his family and friends, and now the memories will live on in an oak tree at the Lakelands Academy in Ellesmere.

The project was the idea of Colin's school friend, Rob McBride, who is heavily involved in recording ancient and veteran trees.

He has donated a sapling grown from the Pontfadog Oak to the secondary school and will return in tree planting season to decide on a site for planting.

Rob who still lives in Ellesmere said: "Over the years, I have often thought about Colin. He left a hole in many folks' lives.

"As children, I think, luckily, we did not maybe understand the full significance of when someone so young passes away. It's only over time, and when you have children yourself, that perhaps, you fully realise just what it meant, especially to his family."

He said his friend had been the best footballer in the year and could have gone a long way in the football world.

Talented footballer Colin Edwards, who died 50 years ago

"Colin attended Ellesmere Primary School and was usually the first name on the team sheet and often played in the team of boys one or two years older than himself; he was that good.

"I have happy memories of biking up to Hordley to his house to play football with him and others on the field next to their home, now a village community centre."

Rob said that when Colin was been treated at Stoke hospital he was visited by many of the stars of his favourite team, Manchester City, including Colin Bell, Francis Lee and England goalie Gordon Banks.

"Colin is buried in Hordley Church cemetery - almost in the shadow of the veteran yew tree at the church. He left two elder brothers, Brian and Alan and a younger sister, Tracy."

When Rob's first child was born in 1980 he and his wife, Sue, decided to name him Colin Edward McBride.

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