BOXING COACH RON ‘CHANGED A LOT OF LIVES’
Tributes pour in after death of 82-year-old
BOXING enthusiasts have paid tribute to a coach who helped set up one of the area’s most successful clubs and inspired scores of sportsmen and women.
Ronald Edge has been hailed as a true ambassador for the sport in North Staffordshire, where he worked to make it accessible to youngsters from a variety of backgrounds.
Now his family have led the tributes to Ronald, who has died aged 82, as they prepare to bid their final farewells to the former truck driver on Monday.
The father-of-three, who was raised in Northwood, not only organised a number of shows but founded Poolfields Boxing Club in Newcastle, which later became Orme ABC.
Son Kevin Edge, speaking on behalf of Ronald’s family including his two other sons Paul and Steven, said: “He managed to get a lot of kids off the streets and into boxing and would coach all ages.
“He was a lovely man and made sure he led us onto the right track. He never had a lot of money, but he always provided for us and we are so proud of everything he did.”
The grandfather’s interest in boxing began as a youth. When he spent more time at home caring for wife Eunice he joined Stoke-on-trent Amateur Boxing Club in Northwood and worked as a coach.
He left there to coach at Sneyd Green’s Holden Lane Boxing Club before opening other clubs, including one in his home neighbourhood of Northwood in Lower Mayer Street.
Ronald then set up Poolfields where he remained as a much-loved coach. Members of Orme ABC held a minute’s silence at their show at Knutton Ex-servicemen’s Club on Friday, where there was also a traditional sounding of the bells.
Steve Woodvine is head coach and now runs the club. The 41-year-old, of Newcastle, said: “Ron changed lots of people’s lives and was such a huge influence, but was always so humble.
“Lots of those he coached went on to box nationally and Luke Caci turned professional. I think he would still be in our corner and proud of how things are going at the club.”
Rachael Smith, a probation officer and boxing coach at Fenton’s Impact Gym, met Ron at Orme.
She said: “Ron had a positive attitude to training females at a time when there was still resistance to women participating in the sport.
“Coaching connected Ron to his community and he allowed many children from vulnerable families to train for free.
“He was still coaching well into his 60s – he was an endearing but wilful character.
“Ron touched the lives of too many people for him to recall, but those people will never forget him.”
Former pupils also paid tribute to their coach.
Neil Jackson, aged 41, of Chell Heath, said: “Ron was more than a coach and trainer – he was more like a second dad to us lads.”
Julian Wilshaw, aged 42, of Stoke, said: “He was an absolutely great bloke whose life was dedicated to amateur boxing.”
Will Sherratt, aged 43, of Newcastle added: “It was the stability, calmness and wisdom which made us want to be around Ron.”
Ronald passed away on October 21 at Wolverhampton’s Newcross Hospital. His funeral will take place at Holy Trinity Church on Lower Mayer Street in Northwood on Monday at 12.30pm. That will be followed by an interment at Carmountside Lawn Cemetery.
INSPIRING: Ronald Edge as a boxing coach, and inset.