Thursday, 23 September 2021

Man dies on charity walk

A MAN died after suffering a suspected heart attack during a charity walk.

A MAN died after suffering a suspected heart attack during a charity walk.

Martin Floyd, 53, who worked at Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, collapsed in front of colleagues, parents and pupils. He had been helping to marshal the event.

Two parents gave him first aid treatment before calling 999. An ambulance, the air ambulance and a rapid response car attended the scene in Checkendon but Mr Floyd was pronounced dead.

Tributes were led by his wife Georgie and children Bryony, 15, and Christian, 13, with whom he lived in Kidmore Road, Caversham.

Mrs Floyd said: “I have not only lost my best friend, my lover, but also my soulmate. We have had 26 years of happy marriage and it has been a privilege to have been part of his life.” She called her husband a “larger-than-life character” who was affectionately nicknamed “Grizzly” and “Hagrid”, after the Harry Potter character.

“Martin was well-loved and touched many lives,” she said. “He will be greatly missed by all who have known him.

“He had a very wicked sense of humour and was notorious for telling stories which seemed quite plausible until the very end when you realised far too late that it was in fact a joke.”

Mr Floyd, a keen sportsman, worked as a technician in the design and technology department at the school. His widow said: “The family have been overwhelmed with the reaction from friends, former pupils and students regarding their loss. We believed in living life to the full and now look back on many amazing memories.”

In a joint statement, his children said: “Dad and Mum had an unbreakable bond, which we can only dream of having ourselves one day. They were perfect for each other while being the best parents for us. He was always there for us both and we will miss him deeply.”

Mr Floyd, who was born in Abingdon, grew up in Goring and Woodcote and attended Langtree Secondary School. He joined the staff at Chiltern Edge eight years ago. His job was to prepare learning resources and materials for students and carry out one-to-one work.

He had often taken part in the annual 10-mile walk from the school to Stoke Row and back, which raises thousands of pounds for Chiltern Edge each year.

The family expressed their gratitude to the parents who went to his aid.

Headteacher Daniel Sadler said Mr Floyd had been a popular member of staff.

He said: “Martin was a larger-than-life character and was someone who everyone knew. He had a great sense of humour and really supported a lot of school events as well as the sports teams.

“He supported some of our more difficult pupils, who really benefited from him, and was always important in doing the set design for the school production.”

Steve Eatwell, 50, who grew up with Mr Floyd and moved into his old home in Maple Close, Sonning Common, said: “He was a smashing fellow and a really bubbly character.”

Messages were left on the Facebook pages of Mr Floyd’s children.

Former head girl Liza Swart called him a “fantastic person”, adding: “In fact, I don’t think they make them much better. He will be forever in our hearts and will never ever be forgotten.

“Even my brother, who went to Chiltern Edge and is now 19, still regularly speaks very fondly of the incredible person your father was.

“I, like so many others, am proud to have known him and the beautiful family that he was a part of.”

Kevin Nutt, sports co-ordinator at the school, wrote: “Martin was someone whose humour, patience, thoughtfulness and selflessness was apparent to all he met.

“He improved the lives of those he came into contact with. Be proud of him as he was so proud of you.”

A joint message from the Holman and Brill families said: “Mr Floyd was a fab man, legend, superstar and all-round great man. He will greatly missed.”

Mr Floyd played for Reading Abbey Rugby Club in Emmer Green and the Thames Valley Chargers American football team. He also paddled for the Henley Dragons boat racing club.

David Buckland, a member of the Dragons, said: “Martin was a larger-than-life chap in many ways who supported the Eyot Centre on the committee for many years.

“He had a great sense of humour, was always willing to help out and offered valuable advice on dragon boat racing.”

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