Dear All,

It is with the greatest disbelief and sorrow that I am writing to share my thoughts and plans for Mat's funeral.

Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support, which has given me so much strength since Mat's tragic and sudden death on Friday night. Id like to let people know that I am coping in the best way I can and have many loving family members and friends around me.

I know that many people have asked for medical reasons in order to try to make some sense of a senseless situation. We found out today that Mat had a massive heart attack. He did not have any symptoms.

Mat's funeral has been arranged for Saturday 28th May. His family are organising a requiem mass to be held at St.Matthew's Church, Ponteland from 9:00am to 9:30am. People who would like to share in their prayers are welcome to attend. His funeral will start at the church at 9:45am and of course, we welcome everybody. Afterwards a small group of close friends and  family will proceed to the crematorium. 

It will not be surprising, even to those who knew Mat for only a short time, that he expressed strong wishes that should he ever die young he would like his life to be celebrated with happy memories and a few drinks.

From 1'o clock, we would like as many friends,colleagues,associates as possible to join our family in the Keilder suite at St.James Park (Newcastle United Football Ground)please.

I know that Mat has touched many many people in his life with his infectious enthusiasm and zest for life. There will be  book available on the day for people to write or stick in any of their special and happy memories of the Mat we all loved, and for those who feel able to, I would appreciate people to share their memories aloud, to lighten the spirits on what will be a very very difficult day.  Mat has friends all over the country and the world, and I know that there are many of you who will be unable to be there with us on the day. Please feel free to e-mail me at JULIETHOPPIL@HOTMAIL.COM. any messages or stories that you would like to be included in the day. There is no dresscode and and no need to wear black. I am sure Mat would have loved the Samsonian boys to wear their ties.    

I have requested that people don't send flowers on the day please, and instead make donations to CHRISTA SISHYA ASHRAM in Tamil Nadu,India. This Ashram was started by Mat's grandfather in 1936, which helps orphaned children and offers free medical help in a very deprived part of the state.

Please draw cheques or drafts in the name of: CHRISTA SISHYA ASHRAM. Can I ask that this message be forwarded on to people please, because there are many E-mail addresses I don't have and I want to give everybody whatever their connection, the chance to remember my very very special Mat.

With Love,

Julie