'Big send-off' planned for charity hero Bernard Edmunds

The late Bernard Edmunds
The late Bernard Edmunds

Loved ones are expecting a “big send-off” for charity champion Bernard Edmunds later this month.

The 73-year-old, a high profile director of Wigan Youth Zone, died last Wednesday after a long but brave battle with cancer.

Bernard with players from Wigan hockey and cricket clubs supporting Men Matters

Bernard with players from Wigan hockey and cricket clubs supporting Men Matters

In an interview with the Wigan Observer in April last year, Mr Edmunds said that he had been given only a few more months to live due to a virulent and inoperable brain tumour, but was determined to use whatever time he had left to the full, much of which would be expended on his beloved Youth Zone.

As it turned out for far longer than any doctor expected and, despite increasing disability, he continued to be involved in promoting the boys and girls’ club and trying to raise as much money for it as possible.

The grandfather of eight, who lived in Marylebone with partner Sarah, died at the Cross Hall care home in Mawdesley with several family members at his

bedside.

Sarah said: “Bernard was a character, full of life and with a huge heart.

“Once met, never forgotten, he was one of life’s givers and a real fighter.

“The doctors told him he had the beast of all beasts of cancer but he just fought it tooth and nail.

“He was still getting out and about until almost the end.

“He was a lovely gentleman, who was very proud of his family; a great communicator and a planner who believed that all things are manageable. We made a great little team.”

His funeral details have now been finalised with a noon service at Swinley St Michael’s Church on Friday, September 13, followed by committal at Wigan Crematorium and a wake at Wigan Cricket Club where Bernard had been chairman.

Sarah said: “Being that great planner, he had that day already sorted and he was hoping for a big send-off.”

As well as Sarah and his grandchildren, Bernard also leaves three children: Lisa, Louise and Richard.

Lisa said: “He was a loving and caring man; a thoughtful parent who dedicated his life to his family and friends.

“He was very passionate about many things and he wanted to play his part in making life better for other people.

“His charity work will leave a legacy, particularly the time and effort he put into the Youth Zone to help young people achieve their potential.

“He showed great courage in the face of the disease but now he is in peace.

“He will be missed by many who will cherish his memory.”

London-born, Bernard enjoyed a long corporate career, mainly buying and selling businesses, travelling the world and sitting on the board of businesses in Bahrain.

Although semi-retired several years ago, he said he wanted to keep his hand in and so agreed to help Martin Ainscough establish Wigan UTC.

Mr Ainscough then asked him to get involved in the Youth Zone as a business ambassador, so he joined the board, supporting events, handling PR and media and engaging with the Wigan business community.

Having previously beaten prostate cancer years ago - and raised £600,000 for the related charity Men Matters in the process - Mr Edmunds went for a scan in 2017 after an optician told him that he might have suffered a stroke.

Tests showed that instead he had an incurable brain tumor.