Saturday 17 August 2019

The last bugle call for Chief Stevie

With a lone piper out in front, scouts lead the way along John Street as Stevie Martin makes his final journey.
With a lone piper out in front, scouts lead the way along John Street as Stevie Martin makes his final journey.
Stevie Martin during last year's parade.

By David tucker

the last post was sounded following Stevie Martin's Requiem Mass at Rowe Street Church on Wednesday, bringing a fitting end to the life of a man who, as a scout for more than 80 years, always responded to the bugle call.

Stevie Martin, aged 89, was laid to rest following a Requiem Mass filled with all the solemnity, pomp and ceremony and celebration of a life well-spent that he richly deserved as Wexford's chief scout, tinged with the deep sadness of those losing someone who had served the family and town he loved so faithfully.

'He was an icon for the scouting world, not only locally, but nationally and worldwide,' Stevie's daughter Marian said in her eulogy.

'The outpouring of beautiful messages and sentiments and tales or yore, shared with friends and family, prove that his dedication did not go unnoticed in the community and for this I know he would be proud,' she told a packed congregation at the church, the attendance so large that at least 100 people stood outside during the mass.

Marian said Stevie lived life to the full and was very fortunate to have had a clean bill of health, only attending a GP for his yearly pre-camp check-up.

'He was old school and believed that discipline and hard work made life better.. he was a stickler for attention to detail, but this never put the young people off, in fact they respected him and held him in high esteem.

'He loved to socialise, enjoyed the banter and any night could turn into a good sing-song,' said Marian.

She paid tribute to Stevie's beloved 13th Wexford Scouts, which kept him active right up to his 89th year.

'He was one in a million. He always had to have the last word and it was nigh impossible to change his mind.. it was always best if it was done "Stevie's way",' Marian told the congregation, which included a large gathering of uniformed Scouts from around the country, many wearing black armbands.

'Yesterday, I reckon St. Patrick had to share his pedestal as the 'chief' took his place at the best reviewing stand ever,' said Marian, said during the Mass which took place the day after Stevie had been due to march in his 83rd St. Patrick's Day parade in Wexford town.

On St. Patrick's Day, family members attended mass at 9 a.m. as did Stevie for most than eight decades. During the parade they donned uniforms and kneckerchiefs and marched in honour of the chief and the 13th Wexford, all in the troop wearing black armbands. The flags were folded and draped with black ribbons.

During the Mass, Liam Hore, scout leader and adopted son who came through the ranks with Stevie, read 'A Scout's Prayer - Chief'.

The offeratory procession included Stevie's grandson David carrying a sign symbolising his grandfather's early days as a carpenter, his daughter Alison carried his service medals, grand daughter Lisa carried a singing pubs award and a bugle symbolising Stevie's love of music and singing at the start of the scouting service, grandson Richard carried a Volunteers jersey and his most recent Cumann na nGael award, Sarah his grand daughter a family picture and sister, Kathleen, and nephew Francis, the bread and wine.

St. John's Volunters formed a guard of honour going up John Street, with the scouts leading off the hearse.

After the mass, national secretary Sean Farrell spoke with members and leaders and urged them to continue with the traditions Stevie had taught them, the drills, honour guards, and scouting skills.

Among the many religious figures at the Mass were Bishop Denis Brennan, Fr. Aodhan Markham, Fr. Jim Fegan, Monsignor Denis Lennon, Fr. James Cullen, Fr. Denis Doyle and Fr. Lori Kehoe.

Piper and Scout Pat Walsh played from the porch of Rowe Street, along John Street, and finally stopped to play 'Going Hone' outside Stevie's birthplace in Hill Street.

At the graveside, with the scouts mounting the guard of honour, Anthony Nolan sounded the Last Post and Reveille, as family and friends placed a circle of stones around Stevie's grave, placing the final stone in the centre symbolising that the chief had finally gone home.

Stevie was laid out in uniform with a shamrock in his beret, it was a fitting end for Wexford's chief scout.

Wexford People

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