Son remembers farmer Martin who 'liked lending a hand' to others

Martin Pate of Witcham

Martin Pate worked as a farmer and, as well as playing both football and cricket in his home village of Witcham, was also a keen dancer. - Credit: Caroline Love

The son of a lifelong farmer who “liked helping people and lending a hand” to others has paid tribute to him. 

Martin Pate helped his father on the farm after he left secondary school, and also made his name at his village football and cricket clubs. 

His son Nigel said: “He did not keep a low-profile but liked helping people and lending a hand.” 

Martin died earlier this month aged 90 after a battle with dementia. 

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.” 

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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 said. 

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.” 

Martin is survived by son Nigel, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

A funeral service will take place at the Church of St Martin in Witcham on Tuesday, July 5 at 2pm.