Eric was ‘tireless’ worker

pic eric martin mbe'Eric Martin who received an MBE in the New Year honours list. (030120
pic eric martin mbe'Eric Martin who received an MBE in the New Year honours list. (030120
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The funeral takes place on Monday of Eric Martin, the president of the Spenborough branch of the Royal British Legion, who was awarded the MBE for his voluntary work.

Eric, 87, of Cleckheaton, received the award from the Queen in 2006 in recognition of his tireless work in the community.

He had been involved with 13 voluntary organisations, including the West Yorkshire and Spen Valley Scouts, Amateur Swimming Association, Citizens’ Advice Bureau, St John Ambulance Association, Girl Guides Association, Royal Life-saving Society and the 2 Para Association.

In his military career, Eric had the distinction of having worn the uniforms of two services and served with the third.

He joined the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in 1944. Always interested in aircraft, he went to Canada to embark on pilot training, but in 1945 the Navy decided it had enough pilots and his training was terminated. Still interested in flying, Eric said: “If I couldn’t fly aircraft, the next best thing was to jump out of them,” and he joined the Parachute Regiment.

His service covered the Fleet Air Arm in Canada, 16 Para in India, 2 Para in Palestine and he was commissioned as a lieutenant. He was actively involved with the Spenborough RBL for more than 30 years, was elected branch president in 2009, and was awarded its Gold Badge.

In May 2012, Eric was awarded an Honorary Scouter Award for a lifetime of service to Scouting. He served for many years as the secretary of the Spen Valley Scout Fellowship, was a county advisor for Air Activities until 2006 and a member of the Deep Sea Scout Fellowship and the Air Scouts.

He worked as a probation officer, before his obsession with studying enabled him to obtain a BA degree in Educational Studies and Social Sciences. He went on to be a lecturer in charge of English and Social Studies at Thomas Danby College in Leeds.

He and his wife Renee, whom he met while they worked at an engineering firm in Bradford, were married for 47 years. Renee died in 2007.

Eric’s daughter, Lesley Kilbey, said: “His charity work was particularly important to him and he was extremely proud to have been awarded the MBE and to be president of the Spenborough branch of the RBL. He loved watching sport, particularly football. He attended the World Cup final at Wembley in 1966, introduced me to standing on the Kop at Liverpool and watched live football right up to attending a game at Old Trafford for the 2012 Olympics. He was also very proud that his grand-daughter Vicky has followed in his footsteps and is currently studying at the University of Liverpool.” Eric also leaves a son-in-law, Rob. The funeral service is at St John’s Church, Cleckheaton, at 1.45pm.