MICHAEL EDWARDS, JUNE 17, 1945 - NOVEMBER 3, 2008
A much-loved Ladbroke Grove receptionist who died last week will be remembered by friends as 'larger than life'.
Michael Edwards, who worked for almost 20 years at the Lighthouse, in Lancaster Road, died last Monday aged 63 after battling cancer of the lung and spine. His job involved speaking to people who had been recently diagnosed as HIV positive or had other sexually transmitted diseases.
Volunteer manager Stuart Allen, who worked closely with Mr Edwards, said: "He always used to be able to help people get through their diagnosis, he just had a knack. He was a great pillar of strength. He had the most incredible sense of humour which made people feel so much better about themselves, and nobody ever took offence at his jokes.
"Even though he was touched by so many people who were dying, he never lost his humour. He had the ability to make every person feel like they were the only person in the whole world who mattered."
Mr Allen added that he had received many messages of sympathy from friends and colleagues throughout the Terrence Higgins Trust, which runs the Lighthouse.
"We held many meetings for staff across London who all got to know Michael. We're expecting a big turn-out of people for his memorial service, because he was so well-loved by everyone he met."
Originally from Zimbabwe, Mr Edwards even befriended a member of the Royal family, Princess Diana, who used to visit the Lighthouse.
Mr Allen added: "They got on very well together, she even called Michael by his first name. She was very passionate about what we did. It's fantastic because she would arrive unannounced wearing jeans and a T-shirt and speak to people in the unit. It hit all of us very hard when she died."
Friends and colleagues are holding a memorial service on Saturday at the Lighthouse, after a funeral service at St Francis of Assisi RC church, in Pottery Lane, Notting Hill. For more information call Lighthouse West London on 020 7313 2900.