TRIBUTES have been paid to well-known Cardigan businessman and character Martin Radley, who died suddenly last night (Tuesday, March 24) aged 63.

Martin was a familiar face to many as the owner of Queen’s Bakery at Pendre, which he ran with his sister Monica.

And he was a Cardigan man through-and-though, involved in many of the town’s organisations, from Barley Saturday to Opera Teifi, St Mary’s Church to the town’s Remembrance Day service, the town Traders’ association to the carnival.

Cardigan deputy-mayor Cllr Clive Davies said: “He was such a big character in the town and at the front of everything we did in terms of events. He was always there and heavily involved with anything that could help improve the town’s well-being and prosperity.

“Everyone knew Martin and it is such terrible news.

“He gave so much to Cardigan and it has still not yet sunk in that he is gone. I offer my sincerest condolences to his family.”

Wynford Jones, who served as town clerk for 12 years before stepping down this month, said: “He followed in his father’s footsteps in always doing what was best for the town and he never courted controversy – he just got on with the job.

“He was great to work with and would help anyone no matter what their background. He was always there to lend a helping hand.

“He was at the front of the parade at Barley Saturday and led the singing at the town’s annual Remembrance Service.

“His loss is a big blow to Cardigan and the civic side of the town. The news has knocked me for six and I offer my deepest sympathy to his family.”

Rev John Bennett said: “Martin made a wonderful contribution to the life of St Mary’s Church.

“He was a man of deep faith and though it is desperately sad news we have that wonderful hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ.”

Cllr Richard Jones, who was instrumental in re-establishing Cardigan Carnival, said: “He was a terrific guy and this is a huge shock to everyone.

“Martin was the kind of person you wanted to bump into in the street and have a chat. He never said no to anyone and would do whatever he could to help you.

“When we were reviving the carnival, we were ‘youngsters’ and he gave us advice and made it seem more possible. He was well liked and experienced in doing events and provided a huge boost to us.”

Barley Saturday secretary Tudor Harries said: “Martin was the parade marshal and a joyous character who always had a smile on his face.

“He was an integral part of Barley Saturday and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his wife Barbara and his sister Monica.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Cardigan mayor Cllr Shan Williams.

“Even though Martin was not a town councillor, unlike his dad who was mayor four times, he was always incredibly supportive of any civic occasion.

“Queen’s Bakery is one of the oldest family run businesses in Cardigan , if not the oldest, and he is a terrific loss to the whole community.

“We send our condolences to his wife Barbara, sister Monica and brother David.”

Julian Beynon-Lewis, of Menter Aberteifi and who worked alongside Martin at Cardigan Traders association, said: “He was a lifelong friend and I am devastated.

“Martin was a pillar of the community in so many different ways and a stalwart of so many organisations in Cardigan.

“He was hard-working and cared so much about the town.”

Non Davies, secretary of Opera Teifi, said: “Martin was such an important part of Opera Teifi and everything seemed to circle around him. He was a key member, supported it for so many years and was so willing to do whatever was needed.

“He was a great character actor and put his life and soul into every part, whatever it may be.

“He relished being on stage and Cardigan audiences loved him to play comedy roles as he brought something extra to the part. You would often see him walking to Patch with his earphones in when he was learning his lines.

“Opera Teifi will not be the same without Martin. I particularly associate him with Gilbert and Sullivan and the idea of putting on one of their productions without him is unthinkable. It is difficult to imagine Opera Teifi without him.”