Tributes are given to ‘extraordinary’ Roy

Polegate Cllr Roy Martin who has died after a short illness.
Polegate Cllr Roy Martin who has died after a short illness.

A WELL KNOWN and respected senior councillor for Polegate died at home in Victoria Road in the company of his family early on Wednesday, May 30.

Roy Martin, aged 86, a Wealden District and town councillor, and a former county councillor, suffered a short illness before he passed away.

Cllr Martin, who was very vocal in engaging with local issues, had passionately represented Polegate on different local councils since 1989. His famous grey pony tail could often be spotted bobbing about in the town centre and he was also well-known for leading his jazz band, ‘The Jazz Caverners’.

The Sussex Express focused on Cllr Martin in a report last February when a National Express coach was named after him.

Polegate MP Norman Baker, a close friend, said: “I have known Roy for around 25 years and will miss him very much. He was a fantastic and unique character who was much loved in the town and beyond.

“He was an assiduous local councillor who always did his best to help local people, and with the energy of a man half his age. He did much to put the Lib Dems on the map in Polegate.

“He was also a great jazz musician, and was still playing with his band, the Jazz Caverners, until very recently, a band that he started before I was born.

“I am really glad I was able to get a coach named after Roy, which I hope will continue to come through Polegate and be a lasting tribute to him.”

Wealden District Council issued a tribute statement ‘with great sadness’. The council flag was flown at half mast yesterday, (May 31) outside the Pine Grove office. Cllr Martin was the longest continuous serving councillor for the authority. He represented Polegate North and was first elected in March 1989.

Cllr Jonica Fox, Wealden Chairman, said Roy Martin would be greatly missed by everyone at the council.

She said: “Council life truly will not be the same without him. Roy was an extraordinary man, an outstanding councillor, passionate about Polegate and dogged in pursuit of any thing he could do to improve life for his residents. He gave tremendous service to Wealden and through his contributions helped make Wealden a very special place to live.”