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Conversation with daughter Elle forced Tim Edwards to quit tough desert marathon 

2 weeks ago

Conversation with daughter Elle forced Tim Edwards to quit tough desert marathon 

A conversation with his daughter Elle caused grieving dad Tim Edwards to quit the Marathon des Sables just two days in to the gruelling trek across the Sahara Desert.

Tim Edwards had set off on the week-long 155-mile ultra marathon last month as a personal challenge and to raise awareness of the dangers of gun crime and violent crime in her memory. 

But after only 48 hours the 52-year-old was forced to pull out of the torturous race.

“They did have to virtually drag me off the course, but it was for my own safety,” he says. “I wanted to carry on but it had got to the point where I was hallucinating.

“I had a half-hour conversation with Elle, and I thought she was walking alongside me.”

Tim was suffering from total heat exhaustion having got his ‘food and fuel wrong’, and dehydration, in spite of drinking about nine litres of water a day.

Yet he admits it was a bittersweet moment: “To be honest, it was the best experience I have ever had. I think I was asking her to help me and give me a sign, and to keep me going – but maybe the sign was to stop on this occasion.

“That if I stopped I had the chance to do it again. If I didn’t I was going to die and then I wouldn’t be able to keep doing all the things I’m doing in her name.

“I am sure if we were having that conversation she would have been saying how proud she was of me … and she’d be calling me a divvy aswell,” he smiles.

The Marathon des Sables which Tim intends to tackle again next year  is one of a number of challenges he’s completed since Ellie was tragically shot dead outside the Lighthouse Pub in Wallasey on Christmas Eve in 2022. He joined his friend, comedian and producer John May, on a walk from Lands End to John O’Groats last year.

“I’m doing something I’ve always done, and that me and Elle enjoyed doing together. She used to come walking with me in the Lake District and up Snowdon, and it feels right to carry on.

“You find people who do these challenges have often come from some kind of trauma and it’s their way of, not punishing yourself, but of dealing with the pain and the mental health aspect of what’s happened.

“When you’ve dealt with the loss of one of your kids, or anyone for that matter, there’s no other pain like it and you push yourself to the limits, searching to see how far you can go before it’s worse than what you’ve already felt.”

It’s 17 months since Elle’s death and Tim is determined to keep the promise he made to his daughter to keep her name alive.

“I keep pushing to make a difference, and to leave a legacy in her name. She drives me to carry on.”

Elle Edwards
Elle Edwards

Tim has set up The Elle Edwards Foundation to raise awareness of gun and violent crime and try to stop it, and to support those who have suffered because of it.

Its website has just been completed and the foundation has now got official charity status: “That opens up a whole lot of doors for us,” explains Tim.

“West Wallasey Car & Van Hire have just donated £1,000, we have got a meeting with a huge company next month, and The Good Hood which has restaurants in Southport, West Kirby, and New Brighton, has just agreed to give a share from each bill to us, all of which is another step towards doing what we want to do, and going forward.

“My goal is to get to September and start rolling out a programme of education and awareness in schools, community centres and sports centres, and presenting ourselves to people in those communities, trying to change attitudes and engage with the kids who are involved in this life of crime.

“It’s alright everyone saying these kids, these people, are responsible for these crimes, but no-one addresses them because they’re scared of them. I’m not.

“I care about these communities, and I care about getting people out of that lifestyle or getting to them before they get into it.

“I know you have to survive in life, I get that you have to struggle at times to put food on the table for your family – we all have, I’ve been in that position. But if you’re going to do that by robbing someone or selling drugs and destroying other people’s lives then you’ve got to realise that’s not going to end well, for them or the people around them.”

Elle Edwards
Tim Edwards walking with daughter Elle

The next fundraising event being held is the Elle Edwards Memorial Trophy, with stars like Emmerdales’ Joe-Warren Plant taking part in a charity football match hosted by Marine AFC in Crosby on July 7.

The actor, who plays Jacob Gallagher in the TV drama, is playing for the North West Community Stars Football Club in the special game against ‘Elle’s Army’.

Tickets are £10 each and it’s hoped with a sell-out crowd, sponsorship, and raffles, it will raise thousands for the foundation, as well as involve young kids.

Founder member of the Community Stars Football Club Dan Ferguson says he set it up after a request by police so that, as well as raising money for good causes, they could involve young kids who might otherwise stray from the right path, and keep them on it through sport.

Tim says: “It’s one of those things that started small and has just grown, and Dan’s been brilliant, he’s fantastic.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It should be another good day.

“Elle would have been 28 last Friday, May 10, and while every milestone devastates me, it also makes me more determined to go on doing what we do in her name.

“I’m not the type of person that’s easily beaten and I’m focusing on going forward and making a difference.

“If I can change one person’s life or save one person’s life and stop other families going through what we have, seeing the pain on their faces, then I’ve got to do it.”

To get tickets for the Elle Edwards Memorial Trophy game go to the Facebook page HERE.

Get the latest for Liverpool HERE.

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