Tributes flood in for Erith & Belvedere stalwart
After more than thirty years of loyal service to the Deres in the old Kent League, the Ryman League and most recently, the new Southern Counties East League, the well-known and respected club stalwart passed away suddenly earlier this month on Wednesday 5 November, aged 58.
His funeral, which took place at the Falconwood Crematorium in Eltham at 1.15pm, was attended by more than 200 people and saw six of the club's players carry his coffin into the service as a final tribute to the much loved official.
Afterwards, the Deres hosted the wake at Park View Road to celebrate the life of man whose connection with the club began even before his birth after his uncle Sid managed the first team in the late 1940s.
The Deres held a minute’s applause before their match with Greenwich Borough three days after his passing and a special Martin Tarrant memorial programme is being published for their match against Phoenix Sports on Saturday 29 November.
Instead of flowers, his family asked those who attended the lunchtime service to make a donation towards the cost of a new a defibrillator for the club’s medical team.
The Deres has been shaken to the core by Mr Tarrant’s death. According to officials, anyone involved with them over the last two decades will have fond memories of Mr Tarrant, the first person to greet them as they came through the turnstiles, more often than not with a pack of tickets in his hand to raise funds for the club’s matchday lottery.
Once inside the ground, fans would have seen him carrying out a huge range of work for the club, from commentating for local radio to greeting visitors and working closely with the programme advertisers and printers.
Erith & Belvedere chairman John McFadden said in a statement, which was published on the Ryman League website: "We the club are devastated by the passing of Martin Tarrant. We have known Martin for nearly 30 years and not only was he a director of the club but a very good friend. He lived and breathed football and will be sadly missed."
Mr Tarrant, who is survived by his younger brother Derek and partner Sera, was married to Ryman League secretary Kellie Discipline. All three paid tribute to him before the funeral service.
Derek Tarrant said: "He was devoted to the club and not only did he support them, he played a big part by arranging sponsorship via the local businesses in the area. Every Sunday Martin would call me to discuss at length the way the team had performed and it was clear from those conversations of his total passion for the club. Martin was a credit to Non-League football."
His partner Sera said: "There has always been three of us in our relationship, Martin, me and Erith & Belvedere! His love, devotion and commitment to the club was unconditional. He loved it all and everyone loved him, he will be missed by so many."
Ryman League secretary Kellie Discipline said: "Martin became my big brother who I have to thank for opening the door to the wonderful world of Non-League Football, something for which I will be eternally grateful.
"Erith & Belvedere was something very special to both of us and neither of us wanted to be parted from it. The football family knew that we did not make the grade as husband and wife and that our “contract was terminated by mutual consent’ but we formed an ever-lasting friendship.
"His life has been taken from us far too early but like so many others, I am glad that our paths crossed and I will hold on to my memories of him. Thankfully, unlike life, memories can never be taken from us."
Article courtesy of www.isthmian.co.uk