WIGAN’S Mr Pieman has died after more than 60 years of serving the borough with tasty pastries.
Bill Edwards, the head figure of Platt Bridge-based William Edwards Bakers Ltd, passed away after a short battle with pneumonia, surrounded by close family at Wigan Infirmary on July 18. He was 77.
Over the last year, his health had deteriorated as he lost sight in both his eyes and had developed various infections.
Mr Edwards launched his career at his father’s bakery at the age of 15, starting at 4am, six days a week, and a few years ago passed the business to his son, Duncan.
But still dedicated to the factory, which was established in 1892, Bill had an active hand, until the bakery was forced to close last year after a serious fire.
The father-of three, who lived in Wigan Lane, Wigan, was well known for mixing pies with charity work and his Pie Man mascot was often seen around the borough.
He was also the proud winner of the Wigan Evening Post’s Best Pie in Town contest several years running.
Duncan, 41, said: “He did a lot of charity work. I think one of his favourite events was taking the Pieman rugby league mascot up to Ben Nevis, which raised between £5,000 and £6,000 for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
“That’s just the way he was – if he could help anyone he could. He was 100 per cent behind any charity work and loved helping others.
“He was very proud of his business and to be following in the footsteps of his father, James. That is why when he retired, he still ended up doing what he could at the bakery.”
With his three grandchildren, Charlotte, Emily and Takira, and 47 years of happy marriage to Maureen, 71, Bill was certainly a family man and was close to his children, Kathryn, Martin and Duncan.
Duncan added: “As much as the business was his life, he loved his family and would do anything for them.
“I don’t think he was any more proud than when his grandchildren were born.
“He was such a family man.
“Even in the days leading up to his death, he was the happiest man on earth when his grandchildren came and he heard their voices, despite his blindness.
“He lived life to the full and loved socialising,
“He was such a gentleman and so kind – he will be sorely missed.”
Bill’s funeral will take place tomorrow at St Wilfrid’s Church, Standish, at 10am, followed by a committal at Wigan Crematorium Chapel.
Relatives have requested no flowers and instead for donations to Manchester Eye Hospital c/o the Edwards family.