More than 50 friends, family members and club members past and present gathered for a special lunch at John Kerkhof Park to celebrate the contribution of the Martens family to Cambridge FC.
They enjoyed a sumptuous buffet lunch on Sunday March 8 as the club came together to pay tribute to long-time president Peter Martens who received a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in the New Year’s Honours for his services to football.
Main photo: Group photo of those who attended the special club lunch.
Speakers acknowledged the contribution of Peter’s wife Trisha, and the extended Martens family, for their support and encouragement of Peter throughout his 40+ years of volunteering for his club and community.
The event drew many past leaders of the club, with former chairmen, club secretaries, treasurers and committee members from the past four decades.
The lunch began with members of the Bailey family, including currrent junior players Ethan, Cooper and Greta, thanking Peter Martens for helping establish a club that now provided football for more than 500 children.
Keith Ward – who held every leadership role (except president) at the club between the mid-1980s and 2005 – spoke of his admiration for Martens and said he was pleased to see the club’s progress.
Mark Ball, former first team coach, club secretary and referee, paid tribute to Marten’s passion for the game and the respect he had earned from the wider football community.
Long-time referee John Cameron explained how his ribbing of the club president led to Martens taking up the referee’s whistle – and how he had mastered the art of refereeing from the centre circle, and sometimes with the aid of an umbrella or chair.
Club colleagues Jim Thomassen and Harry Bomans explained the key role played by Dutch immigrants, including the Martens family, in the building of Cambridge FC.
Bruce Holloway, who has been a key figure in Waikato football and at Melville United for more than 30 years, said Martens was a calming influence and provided a level head at meetings of the Waikato Football Association which preceded WaiBOP Football in the regional administration of the game.
The formal part of the event was concluded with tributes from the club’s immediate past chairman, Greg Zeuren, and current chairman, Steve Thomas, who both acknowledged the contribution of Trisha Martens and their family.
Thomas presented Trisha with a bouquet of flowers.
For once, the club’s president struggled for words as he thanked those who had supported him in the past and who had attended the lunch.
He said the QSM was important in helping lift the profile of football, and the club, in the region but he felt it also recognised the many volunteers whose names had been mentioned at the lunch.
Fittingly, the lunch ended with a standing ovation for Peter.