All who knew Martin Broom will be saddened by the news that he passed away on 7 October at the age of 79.
Martin will go down in Broads history as a wise, unassuming and tireless worker for our sport. His record for contribution to the administration and well being of boating is without equal.
Martin’s greatest contribution was as a member of the Broads Authority and as Chair of its Navigation Committee. His work in this capacity was exemplary. He was first appointed as a member of the Broads Authority and as Chairman of its Navigation Committee at the inception of the Authority. Martin was a pivotal figure in the development and subsequent operation of the Authority and the Navigation Committee, including the difficult negotiations leading to the first Broads Act in 1988. When Martin retired he had served for longer than any other member of either body. His unique experience and knowledge not only of the Broads but also of the Authority meant that he was a highly influential member. He guided the Authority through some difficult situations over the years. Broads boaters owe Martin an inestimable debt for his sustained commitment and contribution to the work of the Authority over 23 years.
Martin was a key player in promoting and defending the rights of boaters, whether sail or power, of all types, on the Broads in modern times. Without Martin’s leadership those interests would have been prejudiced and not promoted. Martin was a longstanding and leading member of the Committee of the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association, instrumental in working towards its objectives of serving, protecting and promoting the interest of private boaters and cooperating with other organisations concerned with the interests of boat owners on the Broads.
For 25 years, Martin was a member of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority. Before that, he was a member of the Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioners, the predecessor to the Port Authority and the Broads Authority. More recently, he represented the RYA on the Community and Marine Liaison Committee of the Great Yarmouth Port Company. For many years Martin served on the RYA Inland Waterways Panel (and its predecessors). He also served on several other RYA Committees. A member of the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, Norwich Frostbite Sailing Club, Norfolk Broads Yacht Club, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Martin had been a Flag Officer and long time committee member of two of them as well as being a Trustee of the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club. He was also Hon Commodore of the River Cruiser Class for 25 years.
Except for the last few years, Martin’s achievements described above are all the more remarkable when viewed from the fact that they were made at a time when he was Chairman and CEO of Broom Boats and (at one point) Chairman of the National Boat Show.
Martin was not just a ‘committee man’. He had been sailing since the age of 10 and was an outstanding sailor. He had only recently given up racing his 14-ft Norfolk One-Design, B59 Tideway, which he had sailed since she was built in 1948. Martin owned Yare and Bure One-Design no 71 Apollo, built for him in 1963, in which he won many trophies including the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup and part-owned a Broads One-Design, no 59 Swan. He also owned River Cruiser Class no 369 Moonshadow, a recent replacement for RCC no 3, Raisena, which Martin owned and sailed with considerable success for over 40 years. Right from the beginning, he was one of the best competitive sailors on the Broads.
In July, it was announced that Martin had been awarded the RYA Volunteer Award for distinguished services to boating. He was due to receive the award from HRH the Princess Royal in November.
Martin is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters.
A Thanksgiving Service for Martin will be held on Friday 22 November, commencing at 3.15 pm, in St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich.