Tributes to Telford Rotarian who took on world

Tributes have been paid to a former councillor and Rotarian who for years ran a popular newsagents.

David Edwards
David Edwards

David Edwards, who moved to Telford in 1973, living first in Sutton Hill, has died at the age of 86.

Mr Edwards bought the corner unit at Hills Lane Drive and Queen Street in Madeley and founded Telford Newsagency Ltd, with the second shop opening in Dawley High Street in 1975.

The family moved to Ironbridge in 1976, where he lived for the rest of his life.

His son, David Edwards-Zoars, said: “No one ever intimidated him, and he never shied from a challenge – he always believed he could conquer the world.

“Behind the counter he never missed an opportunity to share jokes and stories, and his interactions with regulars would become much heard and beloved anecdotes at family gatherings, Rotary lunches and ... well, everywhere really.

“He was a fierce defender of local businesses, shops and services. He hosted a visit by Ken Dodd in 1980 for the opening of the newly-pedestrianised Dawley High Street, raising money for local charities.

“He was an avid member of the Ironbridge Rotary Club. As President in 1984, David was proud to host Rotarians from all over the world during the 75th annual International Rotary Convention, held in Birmingham.

“His President’s project was to transport and build the working school at Blists Hill Museum, which contributed to his being awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship that year. He also served the local community, particularly raising funds and supporting the residents of Chillcott Gardens.”

Comedian Ken Dodd popped in to David Edwards' newsagents in Dawley during his 1980 visit, also meeting Mrs Doris Dicken of Lawley Furnaces.

Mr Edwards was born in 1934, in Small Heath, Birmingham. The family moved to East Dereham, Norfolk, after the war, where his father became the local postmaster.

He joined the RAF in 1952 as an Acting Pilot Officer and was posted to RAF Heany, No 4 Flying Training School, in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he flew Tiger Moth and Chipmunk aircraft.

After RAF service he returned to Birmingham and became a sales rep, meeting Beryl when she had her own stand selling washing machines in a department store.

After retirement, he was a Labour councillor on Telford & Wrekin Council, and Madeley Town Council.

Other roles included being a governor of Alexander Fleming and John Randall primary schools, director of Madeley Community Health and Enterprise Centre, director of Telford & Wrekin Council for Voluntary Service, director of Telford & Wrekin Community Mobility Transport, a trustee of Severn Countryside Trust and active member of the GMB union.

He is survived by wife of 61 years, Beryl, children Paula-Lee and David, and grandchildren Emyr, Amber, Jade and Zachary.

The funeral is at Telford Crematorium on March 22, at 3.30pm.

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