Basketball loses stalwart

STALWART: Bruce Martin was a part of the furniture at Cowles Stadium.

Basketball in Canterbury will never be the same after the passing of Bruce Martin following a battle with cancer.

Martin, who passed away peacefully at home last Friday evening aged 72, was actively involved in basketball for the past 56 years.

After first playing for Burnsco Club at Cowles stadium in 1962 Martin has gone onto hold a number of different roles, helping to elevate the sport in Canterbury including working as a referee between 1967 and 2017.

Martin was made a life member of the Canterbury Basketball Association in 1980 and also recently received a 50 years service award from Basketball New Zealand.

“If you wanted something done you just asked Bruce and it was done,” said former NBL referee Raewyn Willocks.

“He’s the kind of referee that would shout out ‘air ball’ if you had a bad shot, but he got away with doing that because he was Bruce.”

Martin refused to be slowed down by age. He completed 38 City2Surf event, running his last in 2016. He also made an appearance on the basketball court as recently as June.

He received word that his illness was terminal earlier this year which led to the CBA holding a Bruce Martin appreciation evening.

“He’s been in charge of the midweek competition for many years now,” said CBA chief executing Paul Duggan.

“We got him along one evening in June and people spoke about what he meant to them and then he suited up for two different teams and played a minute for each team.”

He also worked as a voluntary reporter on basketball games for local media for over 40 years and wrote his last match report during the CBA finals week earlier this month.

A service to celebrate Martin’s life be held at Westpark Chapel, 467 Wairakei Rd at 2pm today.