Trib­utes pour in af­ter death of 82-year-old

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Dave Knap­per david.knap­per@reach­

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.

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