The Wandle Piscators have been shocked and saddened by the death of senior Wandle Piscator Jed Edge in a house fire on Thursday 11 April, at the age of 82.
Jed was a lifelong resident of the Wandle Valley, and a passionate advocate for the River Wandle.
As a dedicated Wandle angler, he was deeply committed to helping others enjoy the sport he personally loved so much, and was proud to be on 24-hour standby during the fishing season as official catch recorder and photographer for the Morden Hall Park Angling Club.
After a 40-year career as a meat porter at Smithfield market, he spent much time and effort mentoring junior anglers in the Mitcham area, believing fervently in the importance of educating the next generation in good angling, careful fish handling, and environmental awareness.
Jed’s fund of anecdotes, jokes and stories was legendary, and his kindness, gentleness and generosity were an inspiration to everyone who met him.
His fishing companion Zigi Sinnette remembers how Jed once expressed his own feelings about his beloved River Wandle:
I have known, worked, studied and loved this gentle human being for only 20 years or so – but this river has known him for much longer, most of his life has been spent in her company.
In Jed’s own words, given to me on a sunny day fishing some years ago, with that wry smile and a glint in his eye:
“I have drunk her, swum in her, bathed in her, listened to her songs… and still I can only know the secrets she has let me find”.
Like anyone else, he held strong beliefs and opinions, especially on the River Wandle and her wildlife.
He was respected by old, young, children and animals alike, and was cherished by all. And I know he will be sorely missed.
Jed Edge was the kind of man you don’t meet every day. Rest in peace, Jed, your memory lives on in our hearts. God bless and sustain you.
As befitted the father of one of the UK’s leading designers, he was also a consummate artist and craftsman, turning his hand to everything from fly-tying and traditional elder-pith trotting floats (which he regularly demonstrated on the Wandle Piscators’ stand at the Wandle Valley Festival and other events) to carving intricate and startlingly lifelike serpent-headed walking stick handles.
Jed loved animals, and kept many species in his flat over the years, including a puma, a chimp and several species of lizard.
He achieved great local fame for his involvement as Stephen Spielberg’s snake and reptile handler in filming Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Jed took a cobra to the London casting session: the director asked for the snake to be kept well away from him, but the Edge family had the last laugh when leading lady Karen Allen refused to hang from a rope over the snake pit, and Jed’s son Steve put on a white dress to act as her body double!
He also worked as an animal handler on the Star Wars films, and was immortalised in a painting by his grandson Ben for the BP Portrait Awards, which was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery.
Jed will be sadly missed by all in the Wandle Valley, anglers and non-anglers alike, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.
A tribute website has now been created by Jed’s family: click here to visit.