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Martin Walton Obituary

We are very sad to announce that one of our longest-standing and most valued Trustees, Martin Walton, has recently died after a short illness.   A Vice-President and Patron of our organisation, and a much-loved and valued work colleague for many years, Martin had first become involved with CPRE around the time that Bacton was built and Halvergate Marshes might have been ploughed up.   Starting with our then extant North Norfolk Branch, he went on to be involved in several CPRE publications on campaigns and new buildings, always recommending the positive approach of influencing new buildings, rather than just saying ‘no’ to them.

Along with his partner, conservationist and teacher Nancy Legg, Martin was a key figure in the expansion and development of the CPRE Norfolk Awards.  Established in 1979, the CPRE Norfolk Awards emphasize the importance of giving positive recognition for projects which promote sustainable development, and aim to inspire and encourage others.  Martin first joined the committee in 1980 and became a part of the award scheme in 1985.  Under his Chairmanship of the Awards, beginning in 1987, experts were brought in to assist in the judging.   The awards grew in scope to include education projects, sustainable buildings, landscape improvements and restoration projects, as well as conservation schemes.  Martin and Nancy served as the key contributors to a booklet, produced in 2005, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the awards and highlighting past winners.  Over 1,000 copies were distributed, contributing to visibility for CPRE.

John Sansby, one of our past Chairmen said:  ‘ Martin was a wonderful man and he and Nancy did so much for CPRE. The Annual Awards were always a highlight of the year and they put so much time and effort into making them a success.’  In 2008 Martin won the first CPRE National Marsh Award in recognition of his amazing work.   The CPRE Norfolk awards continue to be a successful demonstration of CPRE’s positive and forward-thinking vision.

Martin had a wide variety of interests encompassing countryside issues, architectural matters and more – as well as being a wonderful artist.   His large, brightly coloured abstracts effervesce with  joie de vivre  http://martinwaltonart.co.uk/paint.htm.    His CPRE colleagues  and others have described him as gentle, funny, intelligent, talented, kind, sensitive, welcoming, a gentleman who led with humility, a great champion of good architecture, and a leading light for the countryside who perfectly represented the values of CPRE and did so much for Norfolk.     Lady Walpole, one of his fellow Vice-Presidents has said ‘I would almost go so far as to say that there would be no CPRE  Norfolk today if it wasn’t for Martin. His dedication to the cause was amazing.  But he also had such a lovely sense of humour too and I can remember so many  happy times when we worked together.  I  have just looked at two of his paintings hanging in our front hall and thought how  good it is to be an  artist so that you will not be forgotten.’   

Martin and Nancy were still actively engaged in CPRE events until very recently and his passing is a great loss.  His funeral will be at 11am on Wednesday 18th April at  Horsham St. Faith’s Crematorium.   Anyone who knew Martin is more than welcome to attend the funeral and the wake afterwards – please just drop a line to helenl@cprenorfolk.org.uk if you can to help with catering numbers.   The family have requested no flowers but if wished, donations in Martin’s name to  Cancer Research. 

Obituary in The Eastern Daily Press    Great Yarmouth Mercury


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