Execution of awk script gives error message for invalid character
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How are you invoking the script? Because this isn't an awk script, it's a shell script that contains an awk command. I created a similar short test script just now, and when I tried to run it with "awk -f scriptname", I got a similar error.
Speaking of which, from the output above (and you really should enclose it in [code][/code] tags), your #!/bin/sh "shebang" line has an unnecessary space in it.