Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Friday, January 31, 2014
Vivacious, cheeky, caring, loved and loving teenager Martha Seaward was remembered at a packed funeral service in north Norfolk.
Martha’s life was cut tragically short when she was killed in a road accident on the A148 near Sheringham Park on January 10.
There was standing room only in Sheringham’s St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church for the 15-year-old’s funeral mass this morning, with many of her fellow Sheringham High School students attending.
Martha was the middle of nine children and her coffin was followed by a long line of family members, headed by her parents, Karen and John.
Floral tributes included her family name “Beanie” spelled out in white flowers, an angel, and a blue police box, marking her love of the Dr Who TV series.
There was laughter as well as tears when Martha was fondly remembered in tributes paid by her head teacher, Tim Roderick, and on behalf of her family.
Mr Roderick said Sheringham High School was in many ways part of Martha’s extended family which was why her death had hit them so hard.
She had joined the school as a vivacious 11-year-old and had been about to take GCSEs, in which she would have done so well.
She was also lively, bubbly, cheerful and spirited, and would stand up for what she believed in.
Martha was terrible at geography, and thought that she and her mum should be banned from going out alone for fear of getting lost.
An example of her lack of world knowledge was when she was going on a school trip to Rome. She said to her dad:
“I am not going to learn Spanish just for four days in Rome!”
Dad: “Well, are you going to learn Italian?”
Martha: “They don’t speak Italian in Egypt!”
Dad: “Rome is in Italy.”
Martha: “Is it?”
The family bought her a wall map.
Like many teenagers, Martha hardly ever approved of her mum’s choice of clothes for her. At Christmas Martha’s mum bought her a T-shirt with a picture of a dove on it.
Martha asked: “Why on earth have you got me a top with a pigeon on it?”
Her family had meant everything to her and Martha’s head of house fondly remembered her talking about her younger brother Jack: “expressing herself so well; with a forcefulness and eloquence well beyond her years.”
She had been a Peer Supporter, giving her time voluntarily to help other students with problems.
“Martha was a ‘hands-on’ student who never gave up. She kept going, even if at times she found some subjects and topics difficult. She would always give it her best,” added Mr Roderick.
Staff spoke of a polite student who was a pleasure to teach and talk to, with an endearingly cheeky side which was never rude.
Paying tribute on behalf of Martha’s family, Sophia Emery-Adam, said she was vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic, hated injustice, was loud, outspoken and opinionated.
A fearless little girl, she had cried when told she was too young, at 12, to ride the Terminator at the pleasure beach but had at last been able to ride it last summer when she dangled upside down with her dad.
Martha had hated being known as ‘Charlotte’s little sister’. “She was an individual and felt very strongly about this,” said Ms Emery-Adam. Martha had been due to go to her first-ever concert this year, to see McBusted with Charlotte and Charlotte’s friend Hattie.
The tribute ended movingly: “Martha was our beanie baby. Our flame-haired beauty.”
The mass was conducted by Fr Timothy Bugby, priest-in residence to the Catholic parish of Sheringham and Cromer.
In his homily he said that potential might go unfulfilled, all that we hoped for might not come to fruition, gifts and talents might not have had opportunity to blossom but, even so, a life lived with love was a whole life and we must learn to give thanks for that.
Afterwards, Fr Bugby said: “Our hearts go out to this large, loving family as they come to terms with the tragic loss of their beloved Martha.
“John and Karen and their children are facing this tragedy with a great deal of courage. They are all in our prayers.”
Martha, whose family live in Coronation Road, Holt, was laid to rest in a section of churchyard designated for young people in St Andrew’s Church, Holt.