Mum of tragic boxer Edward Bilbey pays tribute to her ‘special angel’

Edward Bilbey (centre) with two of his brothers.
Edward Bilbey (centre) with two of his brothers.

The mum of tragic teenager Edward Bilbey who died shortly after an amateur boxing match has paid tribute to her ‘special angel.’

The 17-year-old collapsed at the Post Mill Centre, South Normanton, on Friday, March 24, shortly after taking part in an amateur boxing match.

In a statement, his mum Michelle said: “My Eddie boy, my champ. He was more than just a boxer, he was a beautiful, clever, handsome, caring, honest, respectful and truly pure soul with a heart of gold and a kind word and time for everyone.

“He was my confidante, my rock, my very best friend and my shopping partner. He was more than just a brother to Henry, George and Charlie, he was like a dad to them. Always looking out for them, helping with homework, spending all his money on them, especially at Christmas time, making sure they had plenty to open on Christmas Day.

“Henry Bilbey was his best mate and partner in crime at college. I think his happiest days were spent at UCB with Henry and all his mates on the course, mainly as they shared the same mind-set, goals and determination to make something of themselves. He could relate to them as they too gave up the usual life of a 17-year-old to concentrate on fulfilling their dreams.

“Come rain, shine or indeed any weather or any time of day you’d find Ed out running, pounding the streets, headphones in. With one dream in mind - to be somebody in boxing, the best that he could possibly be - a world champion one day, an amateur boxer for England now if he worked hard.

“No one could ever fault his work ethics and that relentless determination with one goal in his heart. His phone screen saver was a picture of that belt, just to remind him why he was getting up in a morning and sacrificing all that he did.”

Michelle said that Edward loved sport and he had a season ticket at Nottingham Forest with his best friend Jamie Wood.

She said: “He’d just started to go out with his lovely friends, who he’d known since school and was looking forward to his first lads’ holiday with them.

“He was gutted he’d missed out going to last years’ Y Not festival but as usual he was training for a fight. Just last week he’d bought his ticket for this years’ festival.”

She added: “Eddie was more than just a boxer but boxing held the discipline and training ethics that he so enjoyed and I know people who don’t understand the sport will slate it but to us that knew him best boxing did define him - it made him who he was. He lived and breathed boxing; it was his life, his passion. It may be that that’s where his life ended on Friday night but knowing Eddie as I do, he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He’ll most definitely always live on forever in our hearts. The world is a poorer place without him in it. RIP special angel, Eddie boy.”