Martin Broom’s farewell to Broads Authority

A significant moment in the history of the Broads Authority was reached on Thursday when Martin Broom chaired his final meeting of the navigation committee.

The end of his era as chairman, spanning more than two decades, was marked with generous tributes and the presentation of a half model of his 14ft Norfolk One-Design Dinghy, number 59, Tideway, built for him and his brother in 1948.

It is the only Norfolk Dinghy in the fleet that is still in the possession of its original owner and Mr Broom confessed to still having the invoice for �99. He and his wife Jennifer still race her successfully.

Mr Broom, 77, boss of Broom Boats of Brundall for half a century until he sold up last year, will finally say goodbye to the Broads Authority after 30 years at the full authority meeting on September 23.

Making the presentation, which included flowers for his wife, Phil Ollier, vice chairman of the committee, spoke about Mr Broom's knowledge, work ethic and wise counsel.

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He said: 'What has struck me throughout the three years I have worked with him has been the depth of Martin's knowledge about and concern for the Broads in general, its economy and the navigation in particular.

'I have also been struck by Martin's consideration for others and his impeccable manners, equally when dealing with committee colleagues, the wider public and the staff of the authority. For whoever takes on the role of committee chairman in the future, Martin's will be a hard act to follow.'

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Alan Mallett, vice-chairman of the Broads Authority and a navigation committee member, said that what Mr Broom did not know about sailing and navigation on the Broads could be summed up on a postage stamp. 'The authority is grateful to you for guiding it through some difficult situations with your unique knowledge and it's going to be a heck of a hard act to follow. You have tackled every problem with quiet, calm deliberation,' he said.

Mr Broom said: 'There have been a lot of tricky situations over the years but it has been a real privilege to serve on the Broads Authority and chair the navigation committee right from the start.'

Mr Broom, who has also served on the authority's planning committee since it was formed in 1983, is a committee member of Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association, and several Broads sailing clubs as well as Commodore of the River Cruiser Class.

Before the formation of the Broads Authority he had been a Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioner.

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