Bobby Martin: Islington community stalwart who worked with offenders and abuse survivors dies at 53

Bobby Martin, who died earlier this month.

Bobby Martin, who died earlier this month. - Credit: Archant

Community stalwart Bobby Martin, who worked with offenders, gangs and the survivors of historic abuse in Islington, has died at the age of 53.

Bobby worked for more than 13 years in the prison service, managing staff and running behaviour programmes for offenders with substance abuse problems.

He was also chair of Respect for London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, supporting prison staff who were victims of racist abuse.

Locally, Bobby worked with the Islington Survivors Network as the group’s secretary, supporting the victims of historic abuse in the borough.

Two years ago he began working with his friend and fellow outreach worker Gwenton Sloley. The pair formed Crying Sons to help young men caught up in gang violence.

Gwenton told the Gazette: “I met him working in prisons, when he was working for Respect.

“He was a very intelligent guy, he always spoke about how he had one of the highest IQs in the country! There wasn’t any topic he couldn’t talk about.

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“He would also give anyone his last pound. He was always giving people, if not his time then his shirt, or something!

“The week before he died he did someone’s wedding ceremony, because he used to be a deacon. He gave life to the community.

“He was a very religious man but he would still support the mosques and other faiths as well. He sat down with Imams.

“He worked with the Home Office on its Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme, doing peer reviews and telling them what they needed to improve.”

Bobby died on Monday last week, the day he was set to start a new role at City Hall working on improving the Gang Matrix.

He had previously served as the chair of the independent advisory group for the Met’s gang unit, Trident and he was brought in to help deal with the aftermath of the 2011 riots in Tottenham.