Book Of Remembrances

Martyn Steward - Newham and District 41 Club

Martyn Alexander Stewart

September 17th 1946 – 9th February 2018

Martyn was a ‘true gentleman’ in every sense of the word

(That was probably the only real difference between us)

He has been taken from us far too soon, for he had so much more goodness and love to share with his family and friends

Martyn, Janet and I grew up in Seven Kings in a loving family with Dad working all hours and Mum looking after us three kids with help from our Grandmother three days a week. This same Grandmother told my mother when Martyn was just 10 that he would become a Vicar when he grew up; on reflection she wasn’t far wrong

Martyn started his working life in a shipping office in Bow Lane EC4 where in his own words thought he was the ‘bee’s knees’ and then very quickly realising that perhaps he wasn’t, so Dad found him a vacancy in the Justices Clerks office at Stratford as an office boy.

He quickly progressed to Barking court where he began sitting alongside other Clerks taking evidence notes, his attention to detail and quick comprehension were quickly recognised and he was offered a position in the ‘Middlesex Quarter Sessions’,

It was during this period that he witnessed a trial involving a small amount of cannabis one of the barristers asked for this to be shown to the jury and because it was such a small sample it was placed on a white sheet of paper and a dozing bailiff was asked to pass it to the foreman of the jury, picking the sheet of paper up he blew the exhibit off it, declaring as an aside ‘a small piece of dirt your honour’.

After five years, at the ‘Middlesex Quarter Sessions’ Martyn transferred to the ‘Lord Chancellors Office where he remained working until his retirement in 2006,although he missed working he didn’t miss the daily commute and subsequently channelled his many talents and interests into other areas.
In 1985 he became a Magistrate following in Dads footsteps, a position he enjoyed immensely only compulsorily retiring at the age of 70 in 2016

In his younger days he played tennis, squash and badminton but these pastimes were always secondary to his love of the church, his unwavering support of St Peters in Newbury Park shone through as he immersed himself with other close friends in organising church functions, an annual flower festival, numerous quizzes, and a variety of entertainment in the form of sketches and cabaret mostly written by Martyn himself.

The family thespian exploits began much earlier with Janet’s son Jamie who joined the cast of Oliver in the West End, Lucie saw the show and told her parents that was what she wanted to do, She joined the cast of Annie in the West End then went on to the States to appear in the original film version of Annie, Sarah subsequently appeared in a Heinz spaghetti advert and younger cousin Anthony became the young son in the 1970s British Airways advert. Sarah continues today with the family trait by appearing in various amateur dramatic productions

You could say that Martyn followed in the footsteps of his daughters

(Surely this is the wrong way round),

but he was very proud of his daughters achievements more so because he enjoyed a dabble himself. Martyn went on to act and sing with the ‘ Woodford Operatic and Amateur Dramatic Society’, ‘Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Art Society’, and then to direct and act with the ‘Aldborough Hatch Players’. He also sang in the church choir and was regularly heard muttering ‘Not Guide Me O thou great redeemer’ again, Vicar, whenever it was announced.

His talents didn’t stop there he played the piano, banjo, piano accordion for the Morris Men, Ukulele and to everyone’s annoyance the bagpipes, strangely not everyone was in love with his bagpipe playing and Lucie recently found them in the loft hidden in a squash bag under lots of other articles, Pat not being averse to going in the loft may have had something to do with this.

Martyn only lived in three houses (an estate agents nightmare), with the family in Seven Kings then Aldborough Hatch with his new bride Pat and then finally Hook End in Brentwood the last two meticulously decorated to Martyns high standards mostly executed by himself.

When Martyn and Pat moved to Brentwood they continued to support and attend St Peters but the journey time was proving difficultand they started attending All Saints Church in Kelvedon Hatch where Martyn as was his habit quickly became involved with church activitiesand was also regularly preaching and how lovely it was both for him and us that he was able to deliver a sermon on the occasion of my wedding blessing to Sheila in June last year I have to say he looked pretty impressive in his black cassock and white surplus ( my mind wanders back to my grandmothers words all those years ago)

Growing up he was a member of the Boys Brigade and as a young lad he attended the Sunday Morning march, one Sunday Dad and I took him to join the 50 or so other boys and we watched as they marched off, Dads words as we walked back to the car were ‘There he goes the only one in step’ a fond and funny memory only recently shared with Martyn and sister Janet

Martyn was a member along with me of Barking Round Table and latterly Newham and District 41 Club. He became chairman of both organisations and together we attended Round Table Area 17 weekends away, where we wrote together with Pat and Yvonne and starred in the Saturday Nights entertainment. We were often mistaken for each other so at one of these functions we adapted the Liza Minelli song and to the amusement of the crowd sang, I’m Martyn with an M, not Barry with a B, as Barry with a B is him not me. Martyn continued his writing and acting ability by co-writing and appearing in 3 films which were entered into the National Round Table film competitions and were outright winners on each occasion.

Martyn also had a tremendous talent for taking a photograph and superimposing a family, friend or famous face which was so beautifully executed you couldn’t see the join. On my wall at home is a picture of me next to the Queen in a royal carriage in the Ascot procession visitors often querying how I got to ride in the carriage with the Queen, such was his skill

In recent months while visiting Martyn in hospital I noticed how he seemed to always have the nurses eating out of his hand. This applied to St Barts, St Francis and even the Queen Alexandra in Portsmouth, he charmed them all no matter how ill he was, as a family we are intensely grateful for the care and support they provided. Also as a family we are humbled by how Martyn bore both his illnesses with good humour, always polite under sometimes painful and upsetting circumstances, never once failing to ask after others, living his life with such hope, optimism and humour.

For fifty years of the life I have described, Pat was always there by Martyns side (never in his shadow) but quietly and patiently supporting and enabling, none more so than in the past three years during his ill health, always positive, strong, optimistic and comforting. They were a loyal, united, committed and happy couple, intensely private, yet loving and giving to others, he was very proud of his daughters Lucie and Sarah, and very happy with their choices of life partners in Chris and Jamie and of course the grandchildren Jacob, Harry, Benjamin and Samuel, always destined to bring yet another smile to Martyns face and now a lasting legacy to his memory

Martyn will be sorely missed by us all; his kindness, his humour, his quick wit, his good advice and his innate ability to love and care for others

We have lost one of the ‘gooduns’

Barry Stewart