Loving tributes have been paid to an ‘amazing’ Manx man and a ‘friend to many’ who has died suddenly at the age of 21.
Lucas Martin, from St Mark’s, passed away last week after contracting meningitis.
The University of Liverpool graduate and talented sportsman had been playing football just days before his tragic death.
Prior to his passing, Lucas had signed up to become an organ donor and had actively encouraged his friends to do the same.
His organs will now be used to save the lives of three strangers, while his family has also pledged to raise awareness and funds for the Organ Donation Isle of Man in the wake of Lucas’ death.
Renowned for his sporting prowess, Lucas previously captained the King William’s College (KWC) rugby team, acting as a mentor for some of the emerging talent at the southern school, as well as the Isle of Man football junior team for a number of years.
However, his family has told the Isle of Man Examiner that it was his personal characteristics that’ made him the man he was’.
A spokesman for the family said he had a positive impact on everyone he met and used five words to describe him: optimistic, loyal, respectful, selfless, and determined—traits they say he demonstrated on a number of occasions throughout his life.
He once came to the aid of a school boarder who had suddenly taken ill by taking a day off work and driving her to the hospital, refusing to leave her side until she felt better.
On another occasion, Lucas visited an 86-year-old friend of his late grandfather in Warrington while he was studying in Liverpool and even hosted him back home on the Isle of Man.
Affectionately nicknamed ‘Looky’, Lucas had recently graduated with a degree in International Business Studies from the University of Liverpool.
Mum Nicky and brothers Connor and Bradley said it seemed ‘certain he was destined for a bright future’ and a long-standing joke in the Martin household was that they should ‘be nice to Looky because we’ll all work for him one day’.
A number of the island’s sports clubs and organisations rushed to organise tributes in memory of the youngster after news of his untimely death broke.
A large crowd, including members of the Martin family, gathered at the Marown Memorial Playing Fields on Saturday for the side’s game against St George’s AFC, where an emotional tribute took place for former Marown junior footballer Lucas.
His old junior shirt and captain’s armband were also put on public display for the fixture.
Lucas’ father, Brett Martin, said the match between the two sides was made ‘that bit more special’ due to the fact Lucas’s grandfather captained St George’s.
Tributes were also held by two other local teams that Lucas represented in junior football prior to their respective weekend kick-offs: Douglas Royal and Peel AFC.
Mr Martin said it ‘meant so much to have Lucas remembered in this way’.
Organisers of the TT Mountain Road Run at the Isle of Man Festival of Motoring organised a moving gesture to commemorate Lucas’ life on Sunday.
Mr Martin had helped establish the Manx festival, and as a thank you, the event organisers had asked him to drive the ‘roads closed’ car along the route for the finale of the event on Sunday.
Unbeknownst to Lucas, Brett had planned on allowing his son to join him and let him take the wheel during the drive. Instead, organisers arranged for a ‘Looky tribute car’ to lead the parade, an idea that sprung from the minds of Lucas’ uncle Paul and his cousin Dan, a go-karting ace who took the wheel and drove the vehicle around the 37.7-mile course.
Before the tribute car set off, a large crowd made up of friends, family, and race enthusiasts took part in a minute-long applause at the grandstand in memory of Lucas.
In a statement posted online in the wake of Lucas’ death, a spokesman for Marown AFC said: ‘The whole Marown family is saddened to learn of the passing of Lucas.
‘He represented Marown for the majority of his junior football and was a fantastic footballer, but most importantly, an amazing lad and a friend to so many.’
A statement issued by Douglas Royal said: ‘Douglas Royal are saddened to learn of the passing of former U16 and senior player Lucas Martin at the age of only 21.
‘Lucas was a fantastic player but, more importantly, a genuine, lovely person and will be missed by many.
‘Lucas also represented the Isle of Man at every level, from nine years old to 16 years old.’
A celebration of Lucas’s life will be held at St Ninian’s Church on Wednesday, September 27, at 10.45am.