Thousands turn out at funeral for well-respected firefighter

Martin Poynter
Martin Poynter
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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MORE than 2,000 fire officers, emergency services personnel and members of the public came from all over the country to pay their respects at the funeral of county firefighter Martin Poynter.

The Isle of Wight came to a standstill and fell silent just after 1pm on Wednesday to remember the father-of-four.

Mr Poynter died in hospital on Wednesday, February 25 after a short illness.

The 49-year-old was well-known throughout the county as he had been awarded two special commendations including the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation.

Mr Poynter’s coffin was taken to the Newport Minster Church by a turntable ladder fire appliance, which had been brought down from Manchester especially for the service, which was adorned with flowers with his nickname ‘PIN’.

Members of his watch rode on the appliance with Martin’s son Toby, led by a guard of honour made up of hundreds of people. The Union Standard was draped over the coffin with Mr Poynter’s helmet place on top.

The Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff also attended the service.

Chief fire officer Steve Apter paid tribute to Mr Poynter and described him as a ‘lovely guy and a great member of the team’. He said: ‘Martin was a close friend as much as a colleague and we worked together over many years, particularly on Blue Watch when I first joined the service.

‘Martin saved my life when we were involved in a road-traffic collision and he never let me forget it.’

Mr Poynter joined the fire service in 1986 as a retained firefighter, then as a whole-time firefighter in 1989.

Every single fire and rescue service in the country has representatives here today. Given that there’s 46 fire services in the country, it gives an illustration of just how close the fire and rescue service community is.

He undertook various roles including, latterly, watch manager for Blue Watch, based at Newport Fire Station.

In May last year his team was nominated for ‘Team of the Year’ in the Spirit of Fire Awards 2014.

Martin was well known on the cricket circuit as he was involved with the Fire Service Sports and Athletics Association cricket section for many years as player, captain and most recently as the manager

Speaking at the funeral, Mr Apter said: ‘Every single fire and rescue service in the country has representatives here today. Given that there’s 46 fire services in the country, it gives an illustration of just how close the fire and rescue service community is.’