independent

Monday 10 December 2018

Huge shock and sadness at sudden death of Martin Colfer

'I can't register that he is gone,' says heartbroken wife Celine

The late Martin Colfer
The late Martin Colfer

David Looby

The sea and being out on the water in his charter boat, the Rebecca C, meant the world to Martin Colfer, who died tragically young aged 46 on Tuesday.

Fishermen lined the streets of the village as his remains were brought from his home to The Star of the Sea Church where tributes were paid to him by his former teacher Duncannon NS Principal Martin Lyons and Dr Johnny Cuddihy.

Martin of Blackhill, Duncannon, was a larger than life character in every way. Standing 6ft 4in tall, he lived a life filled with humour, fun and love. The son of Nicholas and Kathleen Colfer, Martin grew up in Duncannon.

He attended Duncannon NS and Ramsgrange CS, but was always more interested in what was going on outside the brick walls of both buildings.

At Duncannon NS his eyes were always drawn to the sea and he was more interested in the movements of every gull that passed the window than what the teacher was discussing.

A kind hearted man, even as a child he could be seen carrying elderly neighbour’s shopping; his favourite saying being: ‘It’s nice to be nice, it costs nothing’.

A homebird by nature, he loved Duncannon so much that when he left for a family holiday with his parents and sister Avril as a child he would beg his mother to take him home and would go straight to the quay to catch up on the local news upon his return.

An enterprising soul, Martin sold herring as a child and was known to be a great wheeler and dealer.

Martin was always outgoing and met his wife Celine on a night out. They were married in 2006 and settled in Blackhill, where they provided a loving home for their three children, with ponies for them to enjoy.

Martin loved being outdoors, be it walking the dog or a spin on the bike. He trained as a plasterer but the call of the sea was too strong and saw him buy a boat and relocate to Youghal to fish from April till September. Through his South Coast Charter Martin made many lifelong friends from around the world.

His passion for marine life was unrivalled and he loved imparting his knowledge about dolphins and whales to anyone who cared to listen. He would go out on the ‘Rebecca C’ on the lookout for whales and dolphins in the winter months and was always keeping himself busy. Every trip with him was a memorable one and he would stay out as sea as long as it took to make sure and capture those special moments of whale and dolphin activity.

He was always doing good turns for people.

Martin adored his wife and children and when Caitlin (9) was unwell he made one of her dreams come true by bringing her to Youghal Fire Station where she got dressed up as a firewoman.

He named his charter boat the Rebecca C after his eldest daughter.

Martin worked out of Youghal for 20 years and saved a woman’s life when her car crashed into the sea from the quay, managing to get her window down just in time and over the years he was involved in several rescue operations.

He was a practical joker who loved playing tricks on people and enjoyed many a winding up session with Celine.

As Celine said: ‘He could never miss an opportunity for fun.’

Martin suffered from severe migraines over recent years and despite the best efforts of doctors and trying everything he could, he could never find a cure. He was relatively pain free over the summer but his migraines came back with typical ferocity the week before he died. ‘He was getting acupuncture and he though he had a handle on it. He had implants put in to try to control the pain and he was on medication. He had nerve blockers injected regularly. We talked about his illness every day,’ Celine said.

She said the family and everyone are in a state of total disbelief over his passing. ‘It has happened but I can’t actually register that he is gone. I just think of the fun side of him when he was well. He just saw the good in everything.’

Martin was laid to rest after his funeral Mass in Duncannon cemetery. May his gentle soul rest in peace.

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