Memorial dance for all who knew Marshall Martin of Rushden

Marshall Martin
Marshall Martin

A dance will be held in memory of a man well-known for his teaching, love of folk music and work with young people.

Friends of Marshall Martin are holding a barn dance following his death at the age of 87 in January last year.

Marshall Martin was well-known in Rushden and Kettering as well as across the county

Marshall Martin was well-known in Rushden and Kettering as well as across the county

They are hoping anyone who knew Marshall as a teacher in Kettering, Rushden swimming instructor or as part of the county’s folk music scene will buy tickets for the Rushden event next month.

John Green, a trustee of The Rock Foundation, said: “In his long life, Marshall had a positive influence on so many other lives.

“Following his time at university and national service, he returned to his childhood home and became a much loved teacher at the same Kettering primary school right through to his retirement.

“This was however just one aspect of his long life, also being a dedicated teacher at Rushden Swimming Club for very many years.

Marshall Martin in action at a dance

Marshall Martin in action at a dance

“He also used his teaching skills and sense of fun to introduce hundreds of young people to the joys of dancing through the monthly folk dances he organised for 20 years at The Rock in Rushden to the music of Kettering band The Allemanders.

“He also led regular dances at Lings Forum and many other venues in this and neighbouring counties.

“These Saturday dances were remarkable with a vitality, excitement, enthusiasm and atmosphere all of their own.”

He said Marshall was the leading light in the establishment of Rushden Folk Dance Club in the early 1960s as it grew from its evening institute origins into the regular Thursday night sessions which are still enjoyed today, initially at The Rock and then St Mary’s Church hall.

Marshall died in January last year

Marshall died in January last year

When forced to give up folk dance calling and many other activities by the onset of angina, Marshall started giving talks on his other great love, heraldry, a subject which he was an acknowledged expert and which he pursued almost until his death.

But Mr Green added: “Marshall’s most important legacy is probably as a long-term trustee of the Rock Foundation, originally based at The Rock in Little Street, Rushden.

“This is a charity set up by Jane Young in the 1950s devoted to developing the opportunities available to young people in the area, work which continues to this day and of which Marshall was a trustee from almost the very beginning.”

The memorial dance starts at 7.30pm on April 1 at Rushden Heritage Chapel in Park Road, Rushden.

Music will be by Northamptonshire band The Occasional Few, who knew Marshall from when he was a caller.

Mr Green said the evening will include dances led by a number of local callers who all drew inspiration and were supported by Marshall himself and ‘a few appropriate songs from equally appropriate folk.’

Tickets, costing £10 and including a ploughman’s supper, are available by calling Mr Green on 01933 397767 or 07760 197921.

All profits will go to the British Heart Foundation, a charity which Marshall supported when he was alive and which benefited from the many donations made after his death.