Edward, 4th Earl Baldwin of Bewdley (3 Jan 1938 - 16 June 2021)

Dale Vargas writes: Edward, Viscount Coverdale, as he then was, was my fives partner at Cambridge; we played in the second pair together in 1961.

We thought we were a pretty decent team led by the former Schools' Champions, Guy Vine and David Barker, of Aldenham. However, for the Varsity match, Oxford produced out of the hat two outstanding games players, who had played very little fives because of their commitments to other games: Colin Drybrough of Highgate, a footballer and Middlesex cricketer, and James Leonard of Eton, who was Amateur Rackets Champion that year. They beat the first pair easily and their second pair, Drybrough’s school partner, Wadsworth, and another Etonian, Lort-Phillips were too good for us.

Edward was an intelligent, cultured and charming man, whose courtesy on the court could sometimes extend beyond the normal bounds of generosity – infuriating for his partner, but in the true spirit of the game. That is not to say that he was uncompetitive: in our last week in Cambridge, he organised a pentathlon: lawn tennis, Eton fives, Rugby fives, bowls and bridge. Not many lets were given at the bridge table.

As a young man, Edward was a talented pianist, a proficient tennis player, and enthusiastic skier but he was constantly concerned for his health and it was no surprise to find that homeopathy, alternative medicine and environmental matters should claim his attention later in life.

Edward was the only child of Arthur Baldwin, 3rd Earl Baldwin of Bewdley and the grandson of Stanley Baldwin, the former Prime Minister. One of the last to do National Service, after Eton, Edward served as a second lieutenant in the Intelligence Corps. At Trinity he read modern languages and law.

Between 1970 and 1987, Edward, initially taught German and French but then moved into educational administration becoming Area Education Officer for Oxfordshire from 1980 to 1987. On the death of his father in 1976, Baldwin became a member of the House of Lords and was one of the ninety elected hereditary peers, who remained after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. He took his seat as a crossbencher, speaking with gentle authority on educational, medical and environmental matters. From 1992 to 2002, he was Joint Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Alternative and Complementary Medicine and from 2005 to 2010 was Joint Chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Group against Fluoridation. He was also Chairman of the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board and Secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum. He retired in May 2018.

Although he did not speak about him much, Edward was very proud of his grandfather, who had been a much-admired politician of the 1930s, but whose standing with the public had taken a dive when he was deemed to be soft on rearmament. When Stanley’s reputation began to revive as a result of historians’ more measured assessments, Edward was delighted and in 2009 he returned to the people of Worcester a silver casket that had been presented to his grandfather when he had been given the freedom of the city in 1923. His wish, he said, was that “local people can admire it and honour the memory of one of Worcestershire’s greatest sons".

Edward was a moving force behind the decision to erect a statue of his grandfather, by the sculptor Martin Jennings, in his former constituency Bewdley. It was at the unveiling of the statue in 2018 that we met for the last time.