Many of you will have seen the tributes in the local and regional newspapers to Harold Martin. These tributes are a measure of the esteem and respect with which Harold is remembered.
Harold was a trustee of the Great Torrington Town & Lands Charity and the Great Torrington Almshouse Charity for many years, involving himself in all aspects of our charitable work and he will be greatly missed. Friendly and approachable, his nature made him a great trustee, a true gentleman, always ready to help others. In his views and willingness to listen, he was balanced and fair, never dogmatic. He had a quiet reflective wisdom about him and he always wanted to learn more, whether it was on his farm or with the charities, councils, church or other organisations he supported. Harold left school at 15 and throughout his life mixed well with people at all levels, treating them the same whether aristocracy, members of parliament or just ordinary people. His civic involvement was diligent and committed, at village, town and district levels. Harold was Mayor of Great Torrington three times: 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2013-2014.
During the last few years he fought a prolonged and courageous battle with cancer, but continued to work right up until the end. During this time he was sustained by the piece of music “You raise me up”.
The line “You raise me up to more than I can be” is so apt for Harold.
When I am down and, oh my souI so weary
When troubIes come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the siIence
UntiI you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shouIders
You raise me up: to more than I can be.
There is no life-no life without its hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectIy
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity.