Funeral of Michael George Edwards - RIP

Michael on his boat on the Thames

Michael on his boat on the Thames

Bishop Howard Tripp and Bishop Paul Hendricks were among the concelebrants at Sacred Heart Church, Wimbledon, on 2 July, at the funeral of former Deputy Director of the Southwark Catholic Education Service, Michael Edwards.  Michael (54) lost his two-year fight with cancer on 17 June.  Representatives from the many areas of education in which he worked joined his widow, Gill, his children, Rohan, Matthias and Sophronie at the Mass, which was celebrated in the church hall, during renovations to the church itself.

Michael had been the Assistant for Education for the British Jesuits for the past three years.  He had been a pupil at Wimbledon College and subsequently taught there for 15 years, serving as both head of RE and assistant head teacher.

The principal concelebrant at the Mass was the Jesuit Provincial, Fr Michael Holman SJ, who had been head teacher at Wimbledon College during Michael Edwards' time there as a teacher.  He was one of the first recipients of the Campion Medal, awarded to lay people who have given exceptional service to the work of the British Jesuits.  Items placed on his coffin at the start of Mass reflected aspects of his life and his sense of fun: they included his boating cap, a cross given to him by his mother, Olive, his rosary and a spirit level - a symbol of his DIY skills!

Readers at the Requiem Mass included Michael's sisters, Babs and Joan, and Rohan Edwards who read 'God's Grandeur' by Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins.  The order of service had been planned by Michael before his death, and concluded with Traditional Airs performed by the Ceili band, Swigg, which Michael had been a part of.  Donhead and Wimbledon College Choirs provided the music under Robert Rathbone and Belinda Curtis, and the eulogy was delivered by Michael Edwards' brother, Richard.

In his homily, Fr Holman acknowledged the varied activities in which Michael had been involved over the years, many of which were represented at his funeral: the Scout Movement, the Catholic Education Service, the diocesan Deaf Service and the parish of Saints Peter and Paul, Mitcham, where he had contributed so much to the liturgy.  Representatives of the London Borough of Merton also attended the celebration of Mike's life on 2 July - Michael had been a Governor of St Teresa's Primary School in the borough - as well as staff, governors, chaplains and students from Jesuit schools and colleges throughout Britain.

Among those who attended at Sacred Heart were Brothers of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, for whom, Fr Holman said, Michael Edwards had a long association and a "warm and lasting affection".   Mike was a member of the Carmelite Order from 1974 to 1981. He was buried privately at Aylesford Priory in Kent.  A retiring collection for St Raphael's Hospice, Cheam, which cares for people with advanced cancer, raised almost £3,000.

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