Hundreds pay tribute to a Norfolk boat-building champion

Standing room only at the memorial service of Martin Broom in St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to a Norfolk boat-building champion and sailor at a special service of remembrance in Norwich.

Standing room only at the memorial service of Martin Broom in St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich

Martin Broom, who was at the helm of Broom Boats for half a century and was a member of the Broads Authority for 31 years, died aged 79 on October 7, and today a memorial service took place at a packed St Peter Mancroft Church.

Martin Broom at Dragonfly House in Norwich, the Broads Authority headquarters. Photo: Bill Smith

The service was led by the Rev Janet Wyer and the Rev Neville Khambatta, and featured three tributes to Mr Broom, a father-of-two and grandfather.

Ben Mackintosh said: 'We are here to celebrate the remarkable life of a true Norfolk Broadsman.'

He spoke of how Mr Broom, made an MBE for services to the marine industry, joined his family's Brundall-based business Broom Boats in 1958 when the business was producing traditional wooden cruisers. He said one of Mr Broom's proudest moments was skippering the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh with the Royal Standard flying high on the masthead of his boat, and said that Mr Broom led Broom Boats to use the revolutionary fibreglass for boat-building with the company Aquafibre. He also spoke of how Mr Broom began sailing in 1948 and went on to have a 'long and hugely successful' sailing career with his wife Jennifer as his crew, racing to many victories and competing in the Yare Navigation Race every year.

James Grazebrook spoke of Mr Broom's enormous involvement in the national boat industry with the British Marine Federation and his role as chairman of National Boat Shows.

Trudi Wakelin, from the Broads Authority, paid tribute to Mr Broom's years of dedication to the authority and his great understanding of the Broads, and she said the authority was naming its new patrol launch in his memory.

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The hymns sung at the service were: Eternal Father, strong to save; God is love: let heav'n adore him; Now thank we all our God; and All my hope on God is founded. The service finished with the music A Life on the Ocean Wave.

• Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's chemotherapy unit in Mr Broom's memory can send a cheque, made payable to Department of Oncology, to J.Gedge and Sons, Independent Family Funeral Directors, Garden Road, Blofield, Norwich, NR13 4JL.

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