Friends and fam­ily pay trib­ute to tragic Sea Cadet

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by James Scott js­cott@thek­m­

SCORES of friends and fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered to pay trib­ute at the fu­neral of Sea Cadet Jonathan Martin who died in a sail­ing ac­ci­dent.

Ash­ford Sea Cadet Jonathan, 14, of Sha­dox­hurst, suf­fered fa­tal chest in­juries af­ter fall­ing be­tween 20 and 30 feet into the sea from the rig­ging of the train­ing ship TS Roy­al­ist near Portsmouth on May 2.

Fel­low Cadets and lead­ers from TS Churchill marched be­hind the fu­neral cortege from their base at the Ash­ford TA Cen­tre in Chart Road to the St Mary the Vir­gin Church in the town cen­tre for the fu­neral ser­vice last Thurs­day.

There were more than 100 peo­ple in the con­gre­ga­tion, which in­cluded pupils from Cran­brook School, where Jonathan had been a boarder since Septem­ber last year.

Much loved

The for­mer Fri­ars Prep School pupil was re­mem­bered in prayers at Rochester Cathe­dral at a ser­vice to mark the 150th an­niver­sary of the Sea Cadet move­ment and VE day on Satur­day, May 8.

Speak­ing at the fu­neral, Cap­tain of the Sea Cadet Corps Mark Windsor, a serv­ing Royal Navy cap­tain, said: “Last week aboard TS Roy­al­ist we, the Sea Cadets, lost a mem­ber of our Sea Cadet fam­ily.

“We all join Jonny’s fam­ily in the cel­e­bra­tion of his life and to say farewell to a much loved son. We will re­mem­ber him.”

The Cadets’ chap­lain, the Rev Colin Preece, read out a eu­logy writ­ten by mem­bers of Jonathan’s board­ing house School Lodge.

They de­scribed him as a thought­ful and fun-lov­ing friend who was there if they needed some­one to talk to, a typ­i­cal teenager who liked climb­ing trees and mak­ing peo­ple laugh.

His friends said: “He was so full of life, some­times a bit too full.

“The fact that he was here just yes­ter­day but is gone now seems so un­fair.

“We re­ally miss you Jonny and hope you have gone to the best place. It re­ally was an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to have known you.”

Rev Preece said: “Jonny came across to me through these trib­utes as a typ­i­cal boy with some spe­cial at­tributes.”

“He liked fish­ing and was fairly mu­si­cal. He learned to play the pi­ano and, more re­cently, the gui­tar.

“He liked sci­ence and was fas­ci­nated by physics. His dad de­scribed him as a lit­tle in­ven­tor.”

Jonathan had been in the Sea Cadets for two years and had achieved his sail­ing and ca­noe­ing qualifications. The ac­ci­dent hap­pened while he was on a week­long train­ing ex­er­cise with 19 other Cadets in Hamp­shire.

An in­quest was opened by the coro­ner in Portsmouth but was ad­journed for a date to be fixed later in the year. The Sea Cadet Corps are work­ing with the Depart­ment for Trans­port’s Ma­rine Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch to find out the cause of the tragedy.

His fam­ily said he was a won­der­ful son and grand­son who died trag­i­cally while do­ing some­thing that he loved.

Rev Preece said: “He prob­a­bly loved the sail­ing as­pect of the Sea Cadets most of all. He was fun-lov­ing, ad­ven­tur­ous, brave, some­one oth­ers could talk to, mis­chievous and got into trou­ble some times.

Sense of hu­mour

“He liked to make oth­ers happy and lived for the moment. He had a wicked sense of hu­mour and liked to make peo­ple laugh. He was a stick­ler for do­ing things prop­erly.”

“It’s tragic that a life so full of prom­ise has been lost. We will never know what Jonathan would have achieved in the rest of his life but he prob­a­bly would have suc­ceeded in what­ever he did.

“I hope he has in­spired us to live our lives to the full and not just for our­selves but for him.”

Poignantly, the ser­vice came to an end with the hymn Eter­nal Fa­ther, Strong to Save, which is tra­di­tion­ally sung at naval fu­ner­als, be­fore Last Post was sounded.

Do­na­tions col­lected have gone to Ash­ford Sea Cadets and the money raised may be used to in­stall a bench in Jonathan’s me­mory.

Pic­ture: Martin Apps PD1708217

Stan­dard-bear­ers lead­ing the fu­neral pro­ces­sion

Jonathan Martin, who fell to his death

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