Tributes to former councillor who brought sense of humour to role

Peter Martin who reresented Keymer and then Hassocks at Mid Sussex District Council
Peter Martin who reresented Keymer and then Hassocks at Mid Sussex District Council

Tributes have been paid to a long-serving former Hassocks councillor who died aged 70 last month.

Peter Martin represented Keymer at Mid Sussex District Council from 1983, and then Hassocks from 2003 until he stepped down earlier this year.

His family and friends described Peter’s great sense of humour, his dedication in serving his residents, and his fondness for The Greyhound Pub in Keymer, which he dubbed the ‘woof-woof’.

Gordon Marples, who was first elected alongside Peter in 2003, said: “He always had Hassocks at heart and helped so many people along the way.”

Peter was born in Brighton in 1946. As a baby he spent a year in America before coming back to live in Warninglid, and then moving to Keymer, where he lived for the rest of his life.

He attended Ardingly College and then technical college where he gained a higher national diploma in business studies, later becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

His first job was for Fisons Instruments in Crawley and in 1993 he joined Connex South Central in Brighton as procurement and logistics manager.

He was a parish councillor, was involved in the running and refurbishment of the village’s Adastra Hall, and the community association.

Gordon described Peter’s love of planning, how his ‘devilish sense of humour’ in drawing things to a close would often take the heat out of situations, his approachable nature, and how he never lost his temper.

He added: “He was a gentle, gentle man.”

Although very fond of visiting the Greyhound Pub, Gordon described how Peter would only ever have one pint, before switching to a non alcoholic drink.

Gordon said: “If a council meeting finished a bit early he would say: ‘I feel the woof woof calling. Any chance we could call in?’ We would have a half and then go home.”

Peter’s later life was badly affected by illness, as an infection after a new hip caused him to lose several inches from his leg, and he was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and then cancer.

But his family described how he ‘never complained and just got on with his life’, and how all his carers including his beloved ‘Billie’ adored him and said what an intelligent man he was.

Gordon added: “It was courageous his determination to carry on serving his residents.”

His family described him as a ‘really nice man’ with a ‘great sense of humour’.

Garry Wall, leader of the district council, said: “Everybody at Mid Sussex District Council was saddened to hear the news of Peter’s recent passing.

“Since his first election to the council in 1983 Peter represented the communities of Keymer and, more latterly, Hassocks with great diligence and resolve.

“Until he left the council in April of this year he never failed to bring a degree of common sense and great humour to the difficult issues of the day. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to all his family and friends.”

A widower, he is survived by his step-daughter Georgina, step-son James, and his beloved grand-children.