Funeral of former Polegate Mayor

THE sight of the famous Jazz Caverners band playing a tune or two struck a poignant note for people in Polegate when townsfolk gathered to remember a former Mayor - and the band’s leader until his recent death.

Roy Martin, a councillor for various authorities during the past 30 years, would surely have enjoyed the honour paid to his memory at his funeral held in the town centre on Friday, June 22.

Funeral cortege for Cllr Roy Martin. Polegate

Funeral cortege for Cllr Roy Martin. Polegate

The jazz musician, famous for his blonde/grey pony tail and always vocal on all local issues, died aged 86 at home on May 30, as reported in the Sussex Express.

Town councillors and staff joined the funeral cortege outside the town council offices on Friday to walk down to St John’s Church for the funeral service. The new blue Sussex flag was lowered at half mast outside the office.

People lined the High Street and the church was full to capacity with more than 100 people in the church hall and more outside.

The cortege was led by family and Cllr Martin’s band (a member of which carried Roy’s hat), councillors, colleagues and residents.

MPs Norman Baker and Stephen Lloyd were there. A National Express ‘Roy Martin coach ‘ was also present - named in his honour earlier this year

The service itself opened with an introduction and then the opening hymn ‘Immortal, Invisible’ followed by a tribute given by Mr Baker, a personal friend and fellow Lib Dem.

‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ followed and then a eulogy by son Antony Martin; with various prayers of praise and thanksgiving; and a prayer by granddaughter Louise Nicholls.

The Bible readings were taken from the book of John, chapter 14, in the Bible - when Jesus told his disciples not to be troubled because he was leaving, but to believe in him: ‘The way and the truth and the life’.

Prayers of commendation followed and then the hymn ‘Jerusalem’, and another Bible reading from Isaiah. The service ended with a blessing, the sounding of the Last Post and the Royal British Legion laid a wreath.

The procession back up the High Street had an up-beat feel to it, with women joining the band carrying colourful parasols as is tradition in New Orleans. A short private family service was then held at the crematorium.

Town Clerk Jo Ognjanovic said: “There was a beautiful show of warmth to Roy and his family from his friends and neighbours and it was obvious to see the high esteem in which he was held by all who knew him.

“His good humour lives on in his children, who remembered their time growing up with great affection.

“It seems Roy was a family man, committed Christian, jazz musician, animal lover, ex-serviceman, councillor, political activist, trades union member and altogether one of a kind. “

Afterwards, the Mayor of Polegate, Cllr Malcolm Cunningham, said: “It was heart warming to see so many people of Polegate pay their respects to Roy along with others from his diverse walks of life .”

A book of remembrance has opened at Polegate Town Council offices between 9am and 1pm, Monday to Friday.

Did you know Roy Martin? Send your comments to: or write to the Contents Editor, Sussex Express, Temple House, 25-26 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2LU.

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