A well-known villager who dedicated much of his time to helping the community that he loved has died, aged 53.
Martin Smith, from Red Row, passed away last month. Affectionately known as Mart, he will be remembered as a hard-working family man who played an active role in the parish of East Chevington.
Mart was born in July 1964 to Dagmar and John. He attended Red Row Junior School and from there went on to Hadston Senior School.
He left school at 16 and joined the local council workforce, before taking a year out to tour Australia and the Far East.
On returning to Northumberland, he became groundsman at the Welfare Playing Fields, in Red Row.
Mart married Kirsty on New Year’s Eve, 2003. Their honeymoon was a rather strange affair – as many of their close friends joined them on a trip to Amsterdam.
The couple had two children, Lauren and Brydie.
Mart’s family was very important to him and together they shared many good times, including a memorable trip to Poland in the summer.
He really spoilt his girls and, always generous, he wouldn’t let them pay for anything.
Along with his late father, Mart was instrumental in forming the Broomhill and District Garden Association.
He and his committee raised funds for the construction of a fit-for-purpose headquarters that will last for years to come. Mart had an excellent rapport with the gardeners, the dog lads and the pigeon fanciers.
His gardening skills were second to none. He’d do hanging baskets for several people around the parish. His young granddaughter, Lily, was always destined to be his ‘little gardener in training’.
Other community achievements included being involved in the Millennium Green, the sports pavilion and Red Row Cricket Club’s successful world-record attempt in 2007 to play the longest continuous game of cricket, in memory of David Griffiths.
He was also heavily involved in the running of Red Row Brick Club, helping to turn around its fortunes.
Mart’s passions included greyhounds, dominoes, walking his collies, weekends away and horseracing. He was also a passionate Newcastle United fan, following the Toon to away matches, including in Europe.
Mart will be remembered as a quiet, hard-working man who always smiled and was never flustered. He always did more thinking than talking, but if he wanted something, he got it.
He’d be up at 5.30am and go to bed at 9pm. He never spent a day in bed, even when he was ill, which is how a couple of weeks ago the family knew that he was really poorly as he stayed in bed on the Sunday. And on the evening of Monday, October 9, he passed away.
Mart was well regarded in the community, and in his memory, people have rallied round to raise more than £1,300 for the oncology unit at Wansbeck General Hospital. At Monday night’s East Chevington Parish Council meeting, members agreed to donate £50 to the cause, describing him as a lovely man and praising him for his community work.