A "GENTLE giant" and former journalist has left a "legacy of love and respect" after his death aged 74.

Greg Edwards was popular across the local sporting scene through his own involvement and his job as Malvern Gazette and Ledbury Reporter sports editor.

His wife Mitzi said hundreds of cards and messages had helped support the family after Greg died on November 15 at home in Powick following a brave fight with cancer.

The couple met 36 years ago on a blind date and Mitzi said: "Greg was a gentleman and a gentle giant.

"He was a big man with a big heart, helpful, kind and considerate but competitive in whatever sport he was involved in.

"Greg was always supportive with whatever me, the boys (sons James and Oliver) or the grandchildren did.

"The tributes have been absolutely tremendous. My sons and I have been overwhelmed by the legacy of love and respect that has poured out from all corners of Worcestershire and beyond.

"People who worked with Greg, played in teams with or against him and all of his colleagues and friends. Friendships that have lasted right throughout his lifetime.

"It has helped to ease the pain. Greg would be so proud. He was a very humble and modest man so I think he would be tickled pink if he could read it all. He will be sadly missed."

South Wales-born Greg retired in 2008 as Gazette sports editor after a career in newspapers spanning more than 30 years.

He moved to Barbourne, Worcester, when young, attending Samuel Southall School and Worcester Technical College.

Greg was twice crowned Midlands counties schoolboy boxing champion before starting work in the printing industry.

He switched to local journalism as a news reporter and quickly moved to covering his passion of sport, working in Malvern, Evesham and Worcester.

Mitzi added: "Greg always did his utmost to promote all local sports. If it was an under sevens football team, he would do his best to give them all a mention."

Former Malvern Gazette and Evesham Journal editor Liz Griffin paid tribute to the 'highly accomplished' journalist.

She said: "Greg was part of one of the biggest shakeups in newspaper history – when hot metal was swapped for computer typesetting. 

"He applied for and easily passed the assessment to train as a journalist and soon had achieved his ambition of combining work with his life-long love of sport by becoming sports editor of, first the Malvern Gazette and Ledbury Reporter and then the Evesham Journal Series. 

"He was fair-minded, superbly knowledgeable, highly accomplished and a great ambassador for his papers, representing them over and again at sports events.

"Loved and respected by his colleagues as much as by his readers, he helped shape these weeklies into the award-winners they became."

Greg became known as 'Mr Birdport' after getting involved in the Worcester football club through one of his three brothers.

He ran half-marathons and played golf, squash and skittles among other sports as well as walking and enjoying family holidays in Cornwall.

Greg leaves Mitzi, sons James and Oliver and grandchildren Molly, Phoebe and Frankie.

His funeral is at Worcester Crematorium on Friday, December 8 at 1.45pm with donations invited to Prostate Cancer UK followed by a gathering at Worcester Golf and Country Club where Greg was a long-standing member.