Welcome to Edd Stock, who is a new permanent Chaplain at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Edd replaces Alison Coles who has now retired and is busy in the role in the community and palliative care.
The 36-year-old father of two is continuing his role as a police curate but through COVID-19 Edd developed a passion for working in hospitals through seeing the comfort and compassion he brings to patients at a challenging time.
Edd has moved to Birmingham – his wife Katie is a curate – from south east London where he was a well-known figure in the community, working as a chaplain at University Hospital Lewisham and Holy Trinity Church in Forest Hill.
“Seeing people incredibly isolated, alone, afraid and in need during Covid, I was able to provide spiritual wellbeing,” said Edd.
Edd’s unusual Christian name spelling comes from his father calling his son a pacifist by eliminating the letters ‘war’ from Edward and Edd himself feeling unsuited to the longer form of his name at the age of 13.
But if his name is short, he has an ability to have a wide reach. “My role is to support people here wherever they are,” said Edd, who is on site at the Manor every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“I am here for all faiths, and none, and my aim is to increase the presence of the Chaplaincy across the trust and make people – staff, patients and hopefully visitors – aware of us.”
Edd has quite a recent back story which is testament to his willingness to bring people together and the common good that can bring.
Following the stabbing in a street in Forest Hill of a homeless woman, Stefania Bada, who later died of sepsis, he co-ordinated an £8,500 fundraising effort which paid for her body to be repatriated to Italy. The memorial service, which Edd conducted, was attended by over 400 people.
He was also part of the enquiry into the cause of the death of the woman, who used to help parents by carrying their buggies upstairs from an underpass where she sat.
But if the death caused sorrow, the repatriation led to harmony in the woman’s family, repairing a family rift.
Trying to locate the woman’s family, Edd found a telephone book online and with only a surname to go on, tried the first one that appeared, which so happened to be the deceased’s uncle.
“The family were estranged but when I spoke to the uncle, the son spoke to his sister for the first time in years and his grandmother. From the tragedy of her death it brought the family together,” recalled Edd.
A keen runner, Edd also ran a virtual marathon on his treadmill, raising £13,500 to deliver food parcels for Love Your Neighbour, a movement which started as an emergency food bank in London as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.
It evolved into a network of thousands of churches and other local organisations delivering over 7.5 million crisis meals, debt advice, employment support and other provision to help people most in need.
For his part, Edd was awarded the Lancelot Andrewes Medal, of which only a handful are issued each year, by the Bishop of Southwark.