Essex Police appeal after musician died in Westcliff crash

Colin Edwards, 75, died in hospital on October 26 and will be laid to rest at St Alban’s Church, Westcliff, on Thursday. Ahead of the funeral, friends of Colin, who lived in Helen Road, have paid tribute to him[1] as well as praising his work with mental health charity Samaritans. Echo: Colin was musical director for both Southend Bach Choir and the Rayleigh Sweyne Singers.Colin was musical director for both Southend Bach Choir and the Rayleigh Sweyne Singers. (Image: Gillian Purnell)

Close friend and fellow Southend Bach Choir member Gillian Purnell, who knew Colin since he was a teenager, described him as “a wonderful musician”. She told the Echo on Tuesday[2]: “You couldn’t fault him; he really knew his music well. “No tribute can really express the loss we all feel from his passing.

We’re still in shock, it’s like a bad dream.” Colin worked for the Southend branch of Samaritans for 20 years. Branch director Sharon Gatland says he was “the perfect Samaritan”.

“Those of us that knew him are all stunned. We still can’t believe he’s gone. “Not only was he the most kind, gentlest man, he was a mentor within Samaritans as well.

The support he would have given our callers over the years will be incalculable.” Born in Southend on April 20, 1948, Colin dedicated his life to music, studying it at University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2001, he became musical director of both the Southend Bach Choir and, later, of the Rayleigh Sweyne Singers.

A spokesman said: “He was the kindest, most musical man you’ll ever know.” Colin’s friends will perform at a carol concert in aid of homelessness charity HARP at St Andrews Church, Westcliff, on Saturday at 7pm. Following the crash by Southend Hospital, in Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff, Essex Police confirmed the driver of the car was an off-duty police officer and was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

He was released on police bail and an investigation will be carried out by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Essex Police is continuing its investigation and urges anyone with information or footage which could help to call 101 and quote incident 882 of 25 October.


  1. ^ paid tribute to him (
  2. ^ She told the Echo on Tuesday (