Tributes to ‘wonderful’ Martin Walton, artist and Norfolk CPRE stalwart

Martin Walton. Pic: Bob Hobbs.

Martin Walton. Pic: Bob Hobbs. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to one of the longest-serving trustees of the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Martin Walton, a vice president and patron of the Norfolk CPRE, as well as an artist, has died at the age of 78, following a short illness.

Mr Walton, who lived in Ludham, had been involved with the CPRE since for more than 40 years.

Along with his partner, conservationist and teacher Nancy Legg, he was a key figure in the expansion and development of the CPRE Norfolk Awards.

Those awards were established in 1979, to recognise projects which promote sustainable development and aim to inspire and encourage others.

He first joined the committee in 1980 and became a part of the award scheme in 1985. Under his chairmanship of the awards, starting in 1987, experts were brought in to help with the judging and the awards grew in their scope.

In 2005, he and his partner were key contributors to a booklet celebrating the 25th anniversary of the awards.

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John Sansby, a former chairman of Norfolk CPRE, said: 'Martin was a wonderful man and he and Nancy did so much for CPRE.'

Mr Walton moved to Ludham in 1958 after leaving art school in Birmingham, with Edward Seago a major influence on his painting.

After three years in London in the 1960s, he returned to Norfolk. His work has been exhibited in Norfolk and in London, including at the Royal Academy.

Lady Walpole, one of his fellow vice-presidents, said: 'I would almost go so far as to say that there would be no CPRE Norfolk today if it wasn't for Martin. His dedication to the cause was amazing.

'But he also had such a lovely sense of humour too and I can remember so many happy times when we worked together.

'I have just looked at two of his paintings hanging in our front hall and thought how good it is to be an artist so that you will not be forgotten.'

Mr Walton died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with his nephew Richard by his side.

His funeral will take place at Horsham St Faith Crematorium at 11am on Wednesday, April 18. Family flowers only, but donations for Cancer Research.