Community activist Christopher Martyn Cooke was remembered by friends, colleagues and local residents at a memorial service in St Mary Church, Kemptown on Sunday, June 19.
Chris a dedicated campaigner for all the communities of Kemp Town where he lived, died in February following a fire in the flat he shared at Essex Place.
Simon Burgess, the former Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council and James Ledward commissioning editor at Gscene Magazine both spoke about the range and scope of work that Chris had done in making St James Street a better and safer place to live. Father Andrew Woodward read a personal message from Mark Andrew Woolford a friend and flatmate of Chris for the last ten years and also delivered the main address.
Deputy Mayor of Brighton and Hove Councillor Mo Marsh, a friend of Chris for many years read the reading from Romans; community activist Steve Parry read a traditional Indian Prayer; Billie Lewis chair of the LGBT Community Safety Forum read the poem Love is this and friend and fellow community activist Muhammad Asaduzzaman read Loving each other, a passage from the Koran.
The superb Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus sang Rule the World, Everlasting Love and The Rose during which members of the congregation and choir placed rainbow carnations in vases at the front of the church. In particular, their spine tingling performance of One Moment in Time, brought tears to many eyes.
The congregation joined with the chorus in a rousing rendition of Parry’s Jerusalem followed by a fine performance of Widor’s Toccata from Symphony no. 5 from organist Andrew Beaizley.
A collection was taken at the end of the service for the Rainbow Fund where, before his untimely death, Chris chaired the community fundraising committee for a short while.