A charity event is being held this weekend in memory of a lifelong Witcham resident, cricketer and farmer who died last year from dementia aged 90.

Martin's Day takes place from 12noon on Sunday June 25 to remember Martin Pate who, says grandson Angus Pate, "loved people and would help anyone with anything.

"From picking up a pint of milk to taking people to hospital for an appointment, nothing was to much trouble for him."

Taking place at Witcham Village Hall, the day will feature a T20 cricket match between Witcham and Sutton, both teams he played for. Witcham even have an older player coming over from the Isle of Man especially for the day.

Inside, there will be a bar open all day as well as stalls selling gifts, sweets and soaps. Cream teas will also be served and a hog roast will be on the go all afternoon.

There is also a grand draw with prizes including days at the races, rounds of golf, meals for two, garden centre vouchers and three signed England Cricket Bats. A bespoke cake is also being made for the day which will be raffled off.

All monies raised on the day will go to Dementia UK to help them with there work.

"The day is to make people smile, which Martin always did," added Angus.

More than £1,400 has already been raised for Dementia UK, and it is hoped with better weather and a strong turnout, the family can surpass this total. 

Ely Standard: Martin Pate (right) and his son NigelMartin Pate (right) and his son Nigel (Image: Angus Pate)

“If more people can come, it would make the event a better day,” added Martin's son Nigel. 

“And if it all goes to plan, we might make it a yearly event and not necessarily have it in Witcham each year.” 

Martin Pate, who passed peacefully away in June 2022 surrounded by his family, was husband of the late Muriel, loving father of Nigel, grandfather of Angus and Heidi and great grandfather of Jarvis.

In a tribute last year, Nigel said: "Martin did not keep a low-profile but liked helping people and lending a hand.”

Born on December 25, 1931, Martin attended Witcham Primary School and, after leaving secondary school at around 16-years-old, worked on Clare Farm with his father Allan.

“He worked on the farm and had more arable farming, as well as working with cart horses,” said Nigel.

“Dad used to grow potatoes and I think he enjoyed the cows; I was brought up with cows and they were like your friends.”

As well as growing vegetables and combine harvesting, Martin was a fan of livestock farming.

But even so, working regularly on the farm was something he grew accustomed to over time.

“It was more or less a way of life for dad,” Nigel added.

Ely Standard: Martin Pate (centre) on his 90th birthdayMartin Pate (centre) on his 90th birthday (Image: HDC)

Martin, who married late wife Muriel in October 1958, retired from farming around 15 years ago but still helped on the farm into his seventies.

He was also a keen sportsman and as well as several years at Witcham Football Club, he featured mainly as a wicketkeeper and president for the village cricket club, too.

“He played till he was in his mid-40s,” Nigel recalled.

“Dad was keen to watch all the games until his health held him back.”

Away from the cricket square, Martin was a voluntary driver where he took residents from around East Cambridgeshire to medical appointments across the county.

He was church warden at the Church of St Martin in Witcham and with regular visits to Haddenham Sports and Social Club for modern sequence dancing, Martin never earned a bad word.

“He was not a serious man; everything was easy-going for him,” Nigel added.

“Everyone had a kind word for him; he always had time for everybody.”

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