Thursday, 21 October 2021

Fund-raiser given fitting farewell

HUNDREDS of people attended the funeral of a man who died on a charity walk.

HUNDREDS of people attended the funeral of a man who died on a charity walk.

Martin Floyd, 54, collapsed during the fund-raising event for Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common after suffering a suspected heart attack on October 25.

More than 400 mourners attended the service at Caversham Crematorium on Thursday last week.

They included family and friends as well colleagues and past and present pupils of Chiltern Edge, where Mr Floyd worked as a technician in the design and technology department.

The school closed for the afternoon to allow people to attend. There was no dress code and mourners were asked by the family not to donate flowers.

Six pallbearers carried the coffin into the chapel and Don?t Stop Me Now was played three times to allow time for mourners to try to cram inside. More than 100 people remained outside throughout the service.

Rebecca Vincent, who led the service, said the family had asked for the service to be ?dignified and personal? and not to include any hymns or prayers.

She added: ?The comfort in having had him in your life is never lost. You have the joy of having known him.?

Mr Floyd lived in Kidmore Road, Caversham, with his wife Georgie and children Bryony, 15, and Christian, 13, who were pupils at Chiltern Edge. He was born in Abingdon and grew up in Goring and Woodcote, where he attended Langtree 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.

Tributes were led by Mike Sheehy, who spoke about Mr Floyd?s sporting career.

He 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 and was a former club chairman.

Mr Sheehy, who first met Mr Floyd in 2001, said the club enjoyed a ?golden era? under his stewardship as they competed in national and international events.

Mr Floyd won a medal in dragon boating at the 2002 Commonwealth Games while representing Northern Ireland, for whom he qualified through his father.

Mr Sheehy said his friend was known affectionately as ?Grizzly? and ?Hagrid?, adding: ?He was a big-hearted, kind-hearted, good-hearted and, ultimately, tragically weak-hearted, giant of a man, loved by all, disliked by none.

?We had such fun. The best of sons, he always spoke of his dad, Eddie, as his best friend. They regularly played golf together. The best of fathers and, Georgie assures me, perfection as a husband. Taken long before his time, we will remember him with great affection.?

Mr Floyd?s goddaughter Ruth Main read out a poem she wrote, saying: ?From the day I was christened I was graced with a crazy man to love and protect me just like a second dad.?

She added: ?There?s so many stories to tell but everyone could see that your love for your wife and children was true, as well as the love for your mum Sylvia and dad Eddie too.

?As for your friends, there?s way too many to name but none of us would have changed you for the world, Martin Floyd, and your memory will live on forever in our hearts and minds.?

Her tribute was met with applause from the mourners.

Mrs Floyd fought tears as she spoke about her husband?s sense of humour.

There was laughter when she said: ?Martin was an extraordinary man and he will be annoyed that he?s not here in person.

?At this point he would come out with some witty comment that would make us laugh and groan.?

She said it had been a ?privilege? to have shared her life with him.

?Yes, he left us too soon but, boy, he?s had a fantastic time,? she said. ?He left behind a beautiful pair of children that we?re so very proud of and who have so much of their father in them.Yes, I?m a little bit cross with him at the moment but there?s one inevitability in life that we will all die.

?I know Martin touched so many lives. When you next look at the stars in the sky you need to look for the brightest one because he?s looking over us always.?

After more applause, Kashmir by Led Zeppelin was played and mourners were asked to remember Mr Floyd and to clap at the end of the song. The coffin was carried out to the tune of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, the anthem of the English rugby team.

Mrs Floyd and their children put their arms around each other as they watched the coffin being put in the hearse and the mourners formed a procession from the chapel to the grave.

After the funeral, a reception was held at the rugby club.

Donations in Mr Floyd?s memory were made to the British Heart Foundation and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust.

* The Henley Standard was asked by Mr Floyd?s family to publish the following message: ?Eddie, Sylvia, Georgie, Bryony and Christian would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support through this difficult time. Thank you to all the people who helped on the day with the tea and cakes, we are privileged to have such good friends supporting us.?

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