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Obituary: Martin Dales

13 May 2022

 Mark Dilbo

A correspondent writes:

MARTIN DALES, who was a member of the General Synod for 20 years, left St Dunstan’s College, south London, in 1973 after a happy and productive time in which he developed a keen interest in music and its production. It is a credit to the College that he was able to move into teaching without any formal training. He hugely enjoyed this career for many years, working in preparatory schools, mainly in Yorkshire. His Christian faith was the foundation and inspiration of all that he did.

Martin made his home in Old Malton, North Yorkshire, where he was an active churchman and organist, composing many pieces of choral music. He sat for 20 years on the General Synod, and was a loyal ally of the Archbishops of York and Canterbury. He also served for a time as chairman of governors of his local primary school. He had a keen interest in cricket and was an ardent player, encouraging the young by taking them on tours to play other schools. He enjoyed holidays in Europe, savouring its rich cuisine.

Martin was an indefatigable servant to his community, being elected Mayor of Malton twice, and becoming chairman and trustee of the local Conservative Association. In the later part of his career, he worked closely with the MEP for the north-east, with many trips to Brussels and Strasbourg. His wife has been for many years secretary to the local MP.

His generosity of spirit touched many lives; and he was utterly practical in his engagement with others, coping at times with floods in Old Malton by clearing drains. He liked people and was a generous host, entertaining folk and family at home, and also in the pub. He was an ardent supporter of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, being a devotee of train travel. His Labradors were his pride and joy and his constant companions.

Martin had a genuine interest in media, working closely with the BBC in Yorkshire and London, as well as with independent channels. His knowledge and contacts in this field served him well when he steered to Parliament legislation to enable the affairs of those who disappeared without known cause to be more swiftly resolved. This was prompted by the plight of a close friend, who lost his daughter in perplexing circumstances.

Martin’s capacity to come alongside people in their need was unflagging, kind, and large-hearted. He had the happy knack of taking an encouraging interest in others, which they deeply valued. He will be keenly missed by his community and churches, as well as by his wife and two daughters, and wider family. He died peacefully near his home on 20 April, aged 66, after a long and debilitating illness.

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