This morning family and friends will be paying tribute to one of the dearest of gentleman, Ed.

I first met Ed when I was just 14 and working in The Manor House cafe as a Saturday girl and then during the holidays. He came in every other day and munched on his favourite meals, liver and a roast dinner, and then cleanse his pallet with a coffee. Ed always lit up the cafe with his kind heart, warm smile and hilarious banter. He was, first, a customer and then became a dear friend. If we had the chance Mick, Jill and I would sit alongside him and natter away about all sorts. Ed always took interest about how I was doing at school, what I would be doing at Uni and then my life in China. He always showed me the greatest of support and believed that I would do great things and absolutely smash my studies. This might sound silly but I always viewed him as a Grandad type figure, having lost both Grandad’s at a really young age to have an older gentleman sit with me and express his love and interest in my life made me feel fuzzy and happy.

When I moved to China and was writing up all my adventures Jill would sit and read them to him when he popped in (minus the naughty bits). Nan told me he always asked after me to see how I was doing. I forgot about these little details until his death and upon remembering I felt incredibly sad. I felt sad because I wasn’t able to come home and tell him in person about all the experiences I’d had, amazing things I’d seen and people I had met. Sometimes there’s a guilt when you realise you hadn’t thought about someone in a long while and do again when they pass. I felt this way about girl I went to Uni with who sadly passed away from a disease that, until she passed, I had no idea she had. Stupid Facebook algorithms. I felt this way with Ed too. It’s natural to feel this way and you have to remind yourself that it’s okay to feel like that.

He was an incredible person in our little community of Ilfracombe. He volunteered for our fantastic RNLI and pottered to all high street businesses to collect donation money as well as working down in our museum. The love that our community has for him as a person and his hard work is beyond words.

Ed was well known in the cafe for buying the sweetest of cards with cute animals on the front which he would give to us for our birthdays, Christmas and Easter. He always remembered my birthday. It’s such a small gesture but it really made me glow when I received one. I remember one Christmas, when I was working as Jodephine this Christmas fairy, we’d all had a blast celebrating together whilst serving the fully booked cafe and he kindly offered to drive me up to my Nan’s. We chatted and laughed the whole way.

You know when you wrap your arms around a friend, a Dad, or a Grandad and you feel as though you can breathe again?? That’s how his hug felt. You could feel how much he cared from that embrace.

Unfortunately with this pandemic attending a funeral is off the cards which breaks my heart for anyone who has lost someone over the past few months. So, this morning many of us will gather down the RNLI boat station as the hearse drives past.

Thank you Ed for being a really supportive figure in my life.

We love you x

p.s I never know how to spell your name, sometimes you signed cards with 2 Ds!

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