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Many pay final respects to fallen fireman

12/30/2010

By Erica Lazare

Scores of people passed through the Barbados Fire Service¡¯s headquarters in Bridgetown yesterday, with the sole purpose of paying their respects to the first ever fire officer to lose his life in the line of duty on the island.

Christopher Edwards, 57, from Ashton Hall, St. Peter, died last week Wednesday when he was electrocuted after coming in contact with a live Barbados Light & Power cable. He was responding to an emergency call in Station Hill, St. Peter.

Family, friends and colleagues ¨C all proudly wearing pins displaying an image of Christopher ¨C were allowed to view his body, which was closely guarded by two fire officers for the duration of the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. viewing. Many persons who did not know him also expressed to this newspaper that they felt the need to take the time to pay their respects.

As mourners entered the Probyn Street building, most signed the two condolence books that were provided before greeting Edwards¡¯ wife, Cheryl, and moving on to view the body. Mourners included Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall and Christopher¡¯s brother, Martin Edwards.

A montage of pictures bearing the title ¡°1953-2010 Memories Don¡¯t Leave You¡± and featuring Christopher with his family funny cartoon pictures and his firefighting colleagues, was on show next to the body, capturing moments throughout his life. One image showed his wedding day, another his time spent at the St. John Fire Station as well as him having fun playing his guitar.

His wife, who was positioned near the entrance, was a pillar of strength as she was often the comforter of many clearly grief-stricken friends and family members.

In speaking to the Barbados Advocate, she shared her memories on the life of her departed partner.

¡°He was quite a jovial man and very popular amongst his friends. He also loved a good beer and loved a good lime, spending a lot of time at the market behind this station, in Marhill Street, the City and in Speightstown close to home,¡± she recalled.

She added that he loved to play cricket, evidenced by his prominence as a member of the Barbados Fire Service Cricket team at the time of his death.

Cheryl also shared that he was now the fourth of seven siblings to leave this earth, leaving to mourn his brother Martin and two sisters.

Edwards, who was stationed at Probyn Street until his death, will be laid to rest today at the St. Lucy Parish Church, while the interment will take place at the All Saints Anglican Church.

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