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Remembering ‘The Prince’

Talented rugby player: Stephen Edwards

Team-mates of a young Bermudian rugby star who died this week have paid tribute to the talented flyer whom they affectionately called “The Prince”.

Stephen Edwards suffered fatal injuries after a motorbike accident in Devonshire in the early hours of Tuesday.

The 19-year-old was studying law at the University of Sussex in England and was a popular member of the Gosford All Blacks Rugby Club, which is based near Oxford.

Yesterday, as news of Mr Edwards’s tragic death was reported on BBC News and national newspapers in Britain, his team-mates in England paid tribute to “true gentleman”.

Tony Baughan, club captain at Gosford All Blacks, told The Royal Gazette: “Stephen Edwards was a true gentleman on and off the pitch who never had a bad word against anyone.

“He graced the field with pure pace and for a young lad of slender build, he could tackle very hard. “He will be missed by everybody who knew him. He is gone but will never be forgotten.”

Mr Edwards played for the Gosford All Blacks during the 2013-14 season while studying for his A Levels at Bellerbys College in Oxford, scoring eight tries for the Kidlington-based team.

The pacy teenager was also named the Gosford All Blacks’ Young Player of the Year in 2013-14.

Andrew Simms, the club’s first XV captain, added: “The Stephen that we knew was one of the most admirable, unassuming and wonderful young men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

“He quickly became known as ‘The Prince’ around here, owing to the way he carried himself off the park. There was a real sense of class about him, even at 17.

“He encapsulated everything that we aim to be as a club in terms of both the physical and social sides of the game; he just did it looking more sharply dressed. I had the pleasure of playing alongside him on many occasions and I know our coach, Matt Watts, would agree with me when I say that his talent and demeanour made him one of the first names on our teamsheet when we came to weekly selection. He really was a fantastic rugby player.

“He helped us clinch two trophies last year and maintain our standing near the top of our division.

“His contribution whether at wing, standoff or full back was always applauded by those who had the pleasure of seeing him play.”

Mr Edwards had earned the prestigious Conyers Dill & Pearman legal scholarship to study in England and served as captain of the Bermuda Under-18 sevens rugby team.

David Hipkiss, the Gosford All Blacks’ chairman, added: “Stephen was an outstanding young man and had his whole life ahead of him having chosen to pursue law as his profession and studying at the University of Sussex.

“We have opened a book of condolence at the club which will be sent on to his family on completion.

“We are also in direct contact with the Bermuda Rugby Football Union who are working with his next of kin and will ensure that we can construct an appropriate message that can be read out at his service.“

Club president Rick Benito told The Royal Gazette: “It is hard to describe the feelings for Stephen and the effect he had on everyone at the club.

“Stephen presented and carried himself with such poise and dignity they nicknamed him ‘The Prince’ and although I did not know him as well as the players and the coaches, when I met him it truly reflected his character.

“I would wish to pass on our true sadness for his passing to his family and friends.”

Police are continuing to appeal for any witnesses to the fatal accident, or anyone who knew of Mr Edwards’s whereabouts in the hours before the collision, to come forward by contacting Pc Shantia Furbert at sfurbert@bps.bm or at 247-1161.