The lifelong home and away fan's family sent their thanks on the last weekend of 2017 as Alvechurch supporters backed a Christmas campaign to buy a number of the life-saving defibrillators that saved his life for local lower league clubs who can't afford them.
Launched this week by Bromsgrove Sporting manager Paul Smith after the Church supporter's life was saved in dramatic circumstances on December 23, an initial fundraising target of £1,500 was smashed before New Year's Eve with the total heading towards £2,000 for the start of 2018.
The family of Mr Edwards, pictured, singled out the EVO-STIK League South club's physio Kevin March and fans Jude Yates and Martin Basset for special praise in the Bromsgrove Advertiser after the trio applied one of the devices three times to keep him alive before an air ambulance arrived to ferry the grandfather-of-four to hospital.
Mr Edwards collapsed just minutes before Alvechurch's subsequently abandoned match with Gresley and his daughter Sam also backed the 'defib' campaign as the EVO-STIK League prepared to send information to clubs in January on 'defib' courses and other life-saving training elements the competition would be running in 2018.
Sam said: “We cannot thank them enough. If it had not been for them he would not be alive now. All of the doctors said he should not be alive so he is doing remarkably well. He is almost back to himself. He is on dialysis and improving. He has not got a good memory of anything after the game so we hope that will pass over time.
“It shows the importance of defibrillators at football grounds. A lot of the lower league teams do not have them but that is something that needs to change. If that defibrillator was not there, my dad would not be alive today.”
The avid Alvechurch fan's daughter also told the paper's website that he'd been boosted by a visit in hospital from club captain Jamie Willets after the club's 0-0 draw at Bedworth on Boxing Day.
“He brought him a programme and a ball which all the players signed," she said. "He was really happy about that and pleased to see him – probably more so than he was us! The club have been really fantastic. If I was not an Alvechurch fan before I will be now.
"Alvechurch is his passion. As soon as he is well again he will be back at the games. The first thing he said in the hospital actually was ‘did we win?’. We said no it was called off!”
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