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Tributes paid to Edward Jenkins: A figure as unique as the community he loved in Mill Road, Cambridge

A service of remembrance will be held in February in honour of Edward Jenkins, a much-loved figure in the Mill Road area of Cambridge.

Known for his commitment to community issues, his work in setting up Mill Road TV and his poetry, Ed died on Boxing Day.

Edward Lloyd Jenkins, a much-loved figure in Mill Road, Cambridge, who died on Boxing Day 2023. Picture: Supplied by Mill Road History Society
Edward Lloyd Jenkins, a much-loved figure in Mill Road, Cambridge, who died on Boxing Day 2023. Picture: Supplied by Mill Road History Society

Paying tribute to him, a group of his friends - including those at Mill Road History Society - told the Cambridge Independent: “Going to a Mill Road café will never feel quite the same. There was always the chance that Ed might have chosen the same café that you had, and you would be greeted with that unfailing smile, that warm Welsh accent and perhaps he would share his latest poem.”

Educated at Fishguard Grammar School and Swansea University, Edward Lloyd Jenkins was a physicist who, after spending some years researching the effect of radiation on polymers, spent most of his working life in various managerial and teaching roles in education.

He was senior tutor at St Andrew’s College in Cambridge for seven years, enjoying the affiliation the role offered with the University of Cambridge’s Trinity and Pembroke colleges, and worked as his last job with the university’s Local Examinations Syndicate - now Cambridge University Press & Assessment.

During his retirement, he became a well-known figure in Mill Road, becoming very active in the No Tesco in Mill Road Campaign and playing a key role in 2015 in establishing Mill Road TV and its YouTube Channel.

The Cambridge Independent published many of his letters and poems, covering subjects including cycling, climate change, Covid-19, the death of the Queen and the war in Ukraine.

“Even when he was far from well, Ed came to every Mill Road event, and was always enthusiastic and grateful to the organisers,” said his friends.

“One of the last events he came to was the grand opening of the Gateway from India in September and Piero D’Angelico recalls how pleased Ed was to have a plaque there which was subtitled at Piero’s suggestion with the words ‘Community Champion’.

“He was indeed its champion. He wasn’t blind to Mill Road’s faults; one of his poems, a rare negative one published in the Cambridge Independent in 2018, calls Mill Road drab, and its community broken. But despite this there was no denying that Ed loved the road and never missed an opportunity to promote its independent shops and to praise the traders.

“Many shops and cafes can boast an Ed poem on permanent display; his poems are warm-hearted and generous just as he was.”

In a video called The Road - The Film, a film he made with John Caldwell in 2013 which can be seen at https://youtu.be/sFfktGTe3eM, many well-known Mill Road people share lines from one of Ed’s poems. It is Ed who speaks the last two lines:

“It’s quite unique; no others the same
“Mill Road Cambridge, long may it remain.”

His friends say Ed was as unique as the road and will pay tribute to him at a service of remembrance in St Philip’s Church, in Mill Road, from 4.30pm on Saturday, 24 February, to which all are welcome.

Mill Road History Society hopes to post a tribute page on the Capturing Cambridge website and ther are plans to collate as many of Ed’s poems as possible - anyone with one is asked to email it, along with any photos or memories of him, to millroadhistory@gmail.com.

Memories of Ed can also be added to a Facebook page for Ed at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61555435176434

If you have one of Ed’s poems, please email the Mill Road History Society together with any photos and memories. Memories can also be added to the Facebook page.

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