Tributes to Godfrey Martin who passed away suddenly in Italy

Godfrey Martin
Godfrey Martin

Lurgan has lost one of its most larger than life characters Godfrey Martin, a man always full of banter and craic.

At the age of 74 Godfrey sadly passed away suddenly on a cruise with his son Godfrey Jnr at Civitavecchia port near Rome on 16th December.

His family have paid tribute to Colin Bell and his team of the Kevin Bell Reparation Trust (KBRT) who helped immensely to bring back Godfrey’s remains to Lurgan.

At his funeral on Christmas Eve at St Paul’s church tributes where paid to a loving father, brother, grandfather and friend.

Godfrey was born in the old Edward St area of Lurgan in 1944 and was son of William and Susan Martin - he was the youngest of ten siblings.

He was educated in the Convent in Edward St and then began working in his mother’s fruit and vegetable shop in Edward St before later working in his brother Jim’s bar - where the Vintage Bar is now located.

In his early years, with his wife Mary, they travelled and worked extensively across the globe. He had began as a trucker, driving forty foot lorries in Australia’s Outback and then later they went to Canada where he was a talented chef.

Following their extensive travels, when the couple returned home they settled in Lurgan and began a family and had six sons, one of whom died at childbirth.

The couple lived in Church Walk, St Winifred’s Terrace in Francis St before moving to New St in 1992.

Godfrey had a great love for horse racing and greyhounds and this formed his career. He worked for Tommy French Bookmakers for over 50 years and travelled the length and breath of Ireland through his role.

Very much a tremendous family man Godfrey devoted his life to his wife Mary when she took ill with Multiple Sclerosis which she had for over 20 years, Mary passed away in 2006. In another tragedy, Godfrey lost one of his sons, Gerard, aged 32, who died suddenly in 2015.

Godfrey had a major passion for cars and collecting antiques and particularly his holidays. Indeed he lived life to the full.

He beat lung Cancer twice but in August he got devastating news that this time it was terminal. His son Michael said: Me and my brother’s were immensely proud of our father for all he had done for us and our mother in our lives. His zest for life and courageous attitude he showed in the face of adversity to his illness will inspire us for the rest of our lives.”

Godfrey was very well known around the town as good hearted, kindly and full of banter. He had fine tuned the Lurgan speciality of a ‘wind up’ and was always keeping people going. He was regularly up the town and in and out of every shop in the town. He wore his heart on his sleeve and was well loved.

The KBRT is a very proactive charity formed in 2013 after Mr Bell’s son was tragically killed by a hit and run driver in New York. To date the charity has helped repatriate over 600 people back to Ireland and 2018 has been their busiest year on record with over 200 repatriations.

Michael and his brothers would like to thank and pay tribute to Colin Bell and all in the KBRT team for their extreme professionalism in assisting getting their father’s remains home via Aer Lingus before Christmas and in the months ahead will organise a fundraising campaign for the Kevin Bell Reparation Trust.

Godfrey Martin was the dearly beloved husband of the late Mary, 20 New Street, and much loved father of Godfrey, John, Michael, James and the late Gerard and William R.I.P.

Requiem Mass for Mr Martin was on December 24 at St Paul’s Church Lurgan followed by interment in St John’s Cemetery, Drumcree, Portadown.

His passing is very deeply regretted by his loving sons, daughters-in-law Nancy and Theresa, grandchildren Ryan and John and family circle.