Martin & Tricia
Martin was born in 1940, so his early years were dominated by the war. He had an early fortunate escape when a doodlebug crashed into his neighbour’s house. Fortunately the family were on one of many day trips away, but returned to mayhem and had no doors or windows until the end of the war.
Early family holidays were spent on the beach at Seascale and walking in the Lake District, where he developed his love of birds, wildlife and outdoor pursuits.
He attended various prep schools in Kent before going to St Lawrence College, Ramsgate, where he learnt his most valuable skill – that of making friends and keeping them for life.
In the early 60s he was quite the man about town – devastatingly handsome, all round sportsman, with trademark comb in his back pocket and a splash of Eau Savage, he charmed the ladies at Virginia Water Young Conservatives parties and enjoyed sessions with his mates at The Green Man in the City, getting from A to B on his BSA Bantam.
He met Tricia at the 21st birthday party of a mutual friend of his and Tricia’s elder brothers, Alan & Christopher in 1963. Soon afterwards he began working as a salesman for H J Heinz having realised a career in the City was not for him. Martin & Tricia married at St Barnabas Church, Kensington on June 26 1965 and their best man, bridesmaid and ushers are all friends to this day.
He rose quickly from salesman to Area Manager in S E London, with meetings held at their flat in Catford before ‘bonding’ at the local Greyhound Track! He soon became a National Account Manager introducing him to buyers from the major supermarket groups, including Daisy Hyams at Tesco, who he always said taught him so much. In 1983 he joined United Biscuits, continuing his career in Sales & Marketing, becoming Sales Director of McVities, and then Terry’s Chocolates, Managing Director of UB Chilled Foods and finally Trading Director of UB Ross Youngs. In 1990 he joined Perkins Foods in Peterborough as Managing Director for Business Development and then held various non-executive positions from 1996-2010. His people-orientated approach made him very popular within the food industry.
Meanwhile he spent every weekend playing hockey, cricket and/or golf – gathering friends everywhere. Susannah was born in 1968 and Stephen in 1970 and they spent many happy days at cricket and hockey matches, Summer holidays were always shared with other families – first in Devon, then camping in France & Spain and then trips to Australia for the Ashes and more recently many safari holidays in Africa.
Martin was a party animal – he loved attending parties and hosting them – celebrating every milestone birthday in style surrounded by friends and family. He loved the boot parties at Twickenham and lunches on the Coronation Garden at Lords and did not miss his bi-annual boy’s trip to Paris for 54 years.
In May 1993 Susannah married Piers Dibben and Martin soon relished his new role as grandfather to Jessamy, Rosie & Sophie. He was immensely proud of their sporting and academic achievements and Jessamy is now at Edinburgh University where Susannah & Piers met 25 years ago. Stephen married Penny in Sept 2010 and they now have 2 little boys, Lucas and Gabriel.
He was immensely loyal to his friends and a born leader. His 7 years as Chairman of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club was richly rewarded in 2013 when they won the Twenty20 Cup and gained promotion to Division 1. He became as passionate about the work of Send a Cow as Tricia, combining his love of Africa with his desire to help people, especially the young.
Early in 2012 Martin noticed muscle wasting in his hands, which gradually spread to his arms, and in October 2012 he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. His fortitude over the last 2 years and determination to live life to the full has been an inspiration to so many of his friends. With Tricia’s constant support they visited Ethiopia in February 2013 and South Africa and Botswana, for their last Safari holiday, in February 2014. He continued his visits to Twickenham, Lords, Trent Bridge and, of course, Wantage Road, had a wonderful sailing holiday with Susannah’s family, holidays in Majorca and France as well as visits to friends all around the country.
Martin’s final words were ‘I’ve had a wonderful life and I love you all’ and he meant it, packed with great memories, amazing friends, a devoted family and successful career. May he rest in peace.
* Adapted from Stephen’s tribute on 3rd November 2014
"Over 500 people gathered at Stamford Methodist Church on 3rd November 2014 to celebrate Martin’s life and loves. The service was recorded, and also included a video of John Rutter’s beautiful ‘Look at the World’ music before the service.
"We always knew we had a special husband and father, but never realised he was such a special friend to so many people.
"This wave of love, sympathy, prayer and kindness has helped us enormously over the last few weeks and his legacy will live on through The Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust.
"Thank you all so much."