Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Matt and Abigail in the snow Feb '09

Matthew Eggleton died suddenly and unexpectedly on the morning of Tuesday 10th February 2009 of a bronchospasm - a severe asthma attack. He leaves behind his wife Nansi and baby Abigail and is sorely missed by all.

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200 comments:

  1. Matthew we are so sad to hear that you're gone. Jenn and I were blessed to be able to get to know you and Nansi. We will always treasure the time we had with you during your visit to the states. You were an amazing person and will be so missed. love, Jackie

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  2. Goodbye Matt, thank you for making Nansi so very happy and for creating the little beauty that is Abigail. Will you be missed? Mate you have no idea. It's been great knowing you this terribly short time, loads of love Claire x

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  3. I'm so glad Matt that I had the chance to know you. Intellegent and eloquent, you had an opinion on pretty much everything. Your blog updates from your travels with Nansi in 2007 were a joy to read, so beautifully written, I used to wait with excitement for each installment.
    No social event will be the same without your booming laugh, not to mention your fantastic bouncy dancing!
    We will miss you so much. I'll do my best to look after Nansi and Abigail for you.
    Love you always. Sari xxx

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  4. I am a cousin of Matthew, Jennifer Jillson, the oldest neice of his birth mother, Molly Finnegan. I had known of Matt for many, many years, and was thrilled when I heard that he and Molly reconnected.
    I was excited to have the opportunity to first meet him at a family gathering at the West Point military academy a few years back. A while later, after he and Nansi were married, they traveled around a bit, including a stop in Baltimore, Maryland, on the East Coast of the United States. The Finnegan family relatives living in Maryland and nearby states got together for a Celebration of the wedding between Matt and Nansi. What a time we had, talking, laughing, eating, drinking, taking pictures and welcoming Matt and Nansi with open arms and loving hearts.
    The time they spent visiting with all of us was very memorable. I was quite impressed with Matthew. He was smart, funny, and always smiling and enjoying the moment. I was sad to see the two of them go, and we made lots of promises to keep in touch and visit.
    As Jackie said, we were blessed to have been able to get to know Matt and Nansi!
    The news of Matthew's death is heart shattering, and he will be missed by all whose lives he touched.
    To Nansi and Abagail....even though Matt is gone, we will still keep in touch as you are just as much a part of our family, and loved the same. You are in our thoughts and prayers through this difficult time, and always.
    love, Jenn

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  5. Matt, the lady above mentioned your laugh and your crazy dancing and that is just how I want to remember you. You extracted every last drop of juice from life never left while there was wine in the bottle. Your unbridled enthusiasm topped a sort of personal sincerity that I have honestly never seen in anyone else. You are very special and I will endeavour to learn to stick to my joyful memories of you not this sadness. Nansi, in this grimness know that we love you and we are here. You had one hell of a husband and I hope one day to see Matt's smile on Abigail's little button face.
    Jo

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  6. I only had the pleasure of meeting my cousin Matt once, while he was visiting the Bay Area years ago. He made a wonderful first impression and I was looking forward to getting to know him over the years. I was so excited to hear that Nansi and Matt had the beautiful, healthy baby Abigail and looked over Molly's photos upon her return to the States. I was, and am, shocked and heartbroken by the news of Matt's sudden death. I am grateful to have met him and shared a couple correspondences with him over the years. Matthew, you will be missed but will always have a place in our family. Nansi and Abigail, I still look forward to meeting you someday and you are both in my thoughts and heart.

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  7. I have never in my life met such a likeable chap as you Matt. I have only known you 4 years but it may have well as been 40 old bean. Your oratorical ability and deep conversations will be sadly missed. You were a walking talking encyclopedia! truly an amazing bloke and I will never forget you, love Kenn

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  8. I've known Nansi my whole life and to see her and Matt so happy together was truly wonderful. The news of Abigail's birth made the whole Surrey family grin from ear to ear and we're now so shocked and saddened at this terrible news. Nansi you're in our thoughts and hearts. Loads of love, Charley xxx

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  9. Matt. We cannot pretend to have have known you well but for this short, yet significant, year via those 'classic' ante natal classes you were a force of life. Always interesting, always animated...so energised! We are so sorry to hear that you are gone. With love from Tara, Jon and Bea xxx

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  10. Whenever I think of you, Matt, I hear you saying "ello darlin" in that voice of yours! I hear your raucous laugh and will never forget your ability to argue about anything and everything for hours on end ( especially after a few glasses of wine!). You always think that you'll have time to catch up with old friends and I thought we'd be sitting around at Ipley when we were 70, boring the pants off our grandchildren with tales of our student days...
    Those years at Birmingham with you, Harry, Tim and John were amongst the happiest of my life and I will never forget them, or you.
    When Abigail is older I'll tell her what her Daddy got up to as a student( obviously not everything!).
    It just seems so wrong that you of all people should be taken so prematurely.
    I will miss you, love Sasha

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  11. Jason and Natasha11 February 2009 at 11:32

    Matt and Nansi seems like just the other day myself and Natasha were laughing and sharing the joys of parenthood with you both in Dan's kitchen. You ate Natasha's delicious Russian food and we watched you both giggling and telling great stories about being parents. Matt did his usual thing with me traded mad travel stories and we both revelled in that magical warmth he radiates when reflecting on how great life is.

    That is how I will always remember him a big smiler with lots of stories and life ! Enjoy the next phase Matt i am sure you are already entertaining the angels and good sprits up there, and swimming in the fountain of existence.

    Nansi and Abigail we are thinking of you greatly and wish you all the very best with much love from Hong Kong........

    Jason and Natasha x

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  12. Matt, you will be greatly missed - you were always a joy and I will never forget your smiling face on the wall looking down on me as I sat at the desk at West Central Management.
    We will miss you greatly, love, Charlotte xx

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  13. Matt and I shared a fiercely untidy home together for three years. I remember he would cook delicious meals more slowly than I had previously known was possible - on one occasion it was 2.30am before he flourished in from the kitchen holding the plates aloft like trophies with that infectious, silly grin plastered on his face.

    I remember him in the garden during some drinks party we were at, with seven kids in the garden all simultaneously riding on his back (he was, to anyone with the eyes to see it, a dragon). And I remember looking out the window about an hour later to see him STILL carrying seven children - all screaming with the giggles - around the garden on his back.

    Playing. Playing the computer game 'Civilisation' with such fascination that I once came home from work to find him sitting at my computer with his trousers round his ankles, smoking furiously with his face an inch from the screen. He explained that, hearing me coming in, he had lunged toward the bed to put his trousers on so that I wouldn't know he had not moved from his chair all day, but that when they were half on, he had been attacked by the Chinese, and was going to lose his capital city if he did not muster a defence.

    Matt was the kindest, warmest most honourable man I have ever known. He took care of everyone around him all the time. He took care of me.

    One day I received an email from him, while I was at work. It was a huge photo of Nansi's smiling face and under it he had written ":0)".
    Over the next year he seemed less concerned with Civ2, and happier, and calmer until he was simply shining; with that love that shined so bright you could see it from outside on the pavement of Matt, Nansi and Abigail's little flat off Green Lanes.

    Bless you Matt. And my love to everyone who loved you. xxx Paddy

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  14. Matt,
    Was a pleasure to know you, I know you will always be with Nansi & Abigail in spirit - she will grow up knowing what a fantastic and devoted father you were.
    Seems like such a short time but you & Nans lived a lifetime and memories will always stay with us.

    Rest in peace

    Dan x

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  15. I suspect it is a great shame I never met Matt, you only have to read the comments above to know what a loss he will be to all his friends, and of course to Nansi and Abigail. My sister (Charley) said it all; I and my whole family are so saddened by their loss. Our thoughts and love are with you,

    Tom, Charlotte, Isla and Rowan x

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  16. Matt, we are shocked and saddened to hear that you are no longer with us.

    Although we didn’t know you very well, we do know that you made our cousin Nansi very happy and we are very glad to have spent time with you at your wedding. We have wonderful memories of that day and the love you shared for one another.

    We can see from all the messages above the joy you brought to so many people’s lives.

    Nansi and Abigail, you are in our thoughts and we are here for you.

    RIP Matt.

    Love Lucy, Patricia, Rebeca, Julian, Teresa and Yusuf.

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  17. I met Matt at the sword fighting classes in Ealing about 2 years ago, and again at events and meets. His open, friendly nature, his humour and his sheer zest for life won him many friends and admirers, me among them.

    Nansi, all of us at Schola G are shocked and saddened to hear of Matt's passing and we would like to help however we can. Do get in touch if we can help, and know that you and Abigail are in our thoughts.

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  18. Matt

    So many memories, all of them funny, chaotic, and lets face it, pretty hazy if you know what I mean, and I KNOW you know what I mean! We shall all miss your big manic grin, the endless enthusiasm for life, and your total inability to say "no"...

    All your friends on this earth will miss you, and while it is sad and shocking to see you go, we will all hang on to those good memories, and in time we'll all see you again, somewhere, wherever it is

    Love James, Suzanne, Harvey & Billy

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  19. It has to be said that hearing this news is such a terrible shock. How could a man so alive no longer be with us? Matt was fun, he was loud (the laugh!) he said just what he thought and was great company. Everyone could see how happy he made Nansi and how proud he was of his beautiful family when little Abigail was born. Matt was a great husband to Nansi and a loving daddy to little Abigail. As has already been said, we must look past our sadness and remember the good times we shared and make sure we share those good times with little Abigail when she's old enough to know what a great bloke her daddy was. Nansi and Abigail, my thoughts are with you at this sad time. Lisa xxx

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  20. I remember meeting you in Kingston and thinking what a caring gent Nansi has met.

    I remember how the two of you dived around the campsite in the New Forest playing cops and robbers- shooting at each other and doing commando rolls. Were there ever such large grins and laughs as yours.

    We made a campfire together.

    I really appreciate the way you challenged me in debate sitting around fires on summer evenings. Your sense of responsibility to your fellow man; the articulate way you put across your point made me ponder ideas long after we talked.

    At Christmas you reassured me about fatherhood, four months further on than myself. I could see the lovely way you cared for Abigail. A role-model dad.

    I know you love Nansi and Abigail very much. They have many friends who will look after them.

    great respect to you fantastic chap

    Jon

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  21. Matt, I am devastated that you are no longer with us. Life is cruel to take such a loving, friendly, energetic soul as you away so early. I have so many memories of our time at university together - the tears, the laughter, the excessive amount of chocolate - that will stay with me forever. I found in you a kindred spirit (one who thought that smashing bottles in the garden would actually help calm them down!). We may not have spoken much these past few years, but I always knew you where there for me. If I can be there in any way for Nansi and Abigail then rest assured I will. That's a promise, you ol' bastard. Mariam x

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  22. Lucy Gordon Clark11 February 2009 at 14:37

    Dearest Matt, am going to miss you so much. You were my best mate at college and since then you have been one of the people I have loved and valued the most. I shall never forget your first appearance at the Beano cafe, the day before you started at the Court, with your funny forelock dreadlocks and your dreadful tartan jacket. Since then, we enjoyed some seriously fun times together and some good adventures together, not least Amsterdam! You were the most talented actor I have ever worked with and my Dad felt the same about you. I always loved working with you, right up until eighteen months ago, the last show we did together. I cannot begin to describe how much I shall miss you. My Dad and Mum, Jake and Poppy are shocked and saddened too. When you met Nansi and fell in love, your good old Matt grin didn't ever seem to leave your face. You were a terrific actor, an amazing mate and bless you, bless you, bless you. Am so glad you got to know Beatrice. All my thoughts and love go to Nansi, Dorothy and Abigail. All love, Lucyxxxx

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  23. I didn't know Matt for long, and haven't seen him for many, many years, but he has often been in my thoughts and stands out as one of the most truly wonderful people I have known. I am profoundly shocked by this news (compounded, unfortunately, by the horrific bushfire tragedy we are currently experiencing in Australia). I was looking forward to one day hopefully seeing him again and meeting his beautiful family. Now my memories of those fabulous fun times with Matt will have to suffice.

    My heart goes out to Nansi and Abigail - even though I haven't met you, my thoughts go out to you in these saddest of times.

    Jeremy.x.

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  24. Matt, I only met you a few times and am so sad to know that I'll never get to meet you again. When I first met you at Jonstock in the New Forest you were so friendly and so easy to talk to. Your great big smile was infectious, you were fun to be around and a fascinating conversationalist. You and Nansi made such a beautiful couple that it made me smile just seeing you together, and even more so once Abigail came on the scene. You were a huge and lovely personality, and the world's going to be a duller place without you.

    Peace,
    Dan

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  25. Matt, I only wish I'd had the opportunity to get to know you better than I did. A few long drunken evenings, and some long drunken days, weren't enough. There are too many more books and ideas we could have disagreed about. Every time we talked it made me think. I knew you through Nansi; I'll remember mainly the happiness you brought into her life, and the life you brought into the world, Abigail. And of course that unforgettable huge smile, beaming out at your daughter and the world, and taking such delight in the excitement of everything that was around you. It's all a little darker now. Rest in peace mate.
    Kev

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  26. Becky Higdon (Matt's cousin)11 February 2009 at 18:01

    News of Matt's passing hit hard in the hearts of the Maryland (Finnegan) Family Crew. We are all very saddened by Matt's sudden passing. For those of you who do not know our side of the family, we tend to tell stories to lift the mood and keep the memory of the passing person alive.
    One memory stands out in my mind considerably... it was one time when Matt & Nansi were visiting Baltimore and everyone had gathered at my parents home. We were all sitting around talking, drinking, and more talking and Matthew was telling us about his part on the series ROME. He told us what it was like to be on the set and some of the people he met. Now, anyone who knows our family we love movies and t.v. series, so his on set stories were not enough. We had to see him in action. My father turned on the show and I watched the eyes in the room fill with amazement and pride. I will never forget how proud we were of our cousin/nephew/son/grandson that day when we saw how much he loved telling stories. It was at the moment (and his laugh) that I knew our family had been missing a wonderful person.
    I am so blessed that I was able to smile, chat, and laugh with such a brilliant man.
    Matthew - always in our hearts. Never forgotten!
    Nansi & Abigail - I am thinking of you both. I know Matt is smiling down on both of you and will always remain in your hearts & mind.

    Love,
    Becky

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  27. Matt,

    What a loss to the world. You were an exceptional Dad in our little NCT circle and it is such, such a shame that we did not get to know you better. It was so lovely that you could join in with the mums on occasion, and help to eat the biscuits!!

    We will make sure we tell Abigail how special you were, and promise to help look after her and Nansi. Sam will screen all her boyfriends for you, so don't worry about that.
    Take care, wherever you are.

    Romany, Ben and Sam
    x

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  28. Mat

    We will really miss you. When I heard your laugh across the campsite at the New Forest I thought wow, what a cool bloke Nansi has found. I always aspired to be like Nansi when I was growing up and when I met you, I knew she had found her match – witty, articulate and so very very knowledgable about the world.

    We learnt a lot from you. I have never met anybody with such a vast knowledge about the people and politics of the world who can put it across in such an enthusiastic manner, so articulately and so fast – we couldn’t keep up.

    That lovely evening at Catharine and Del’s at Christmas, and the Christmas Lunch. You did an impression of a parachutist with Abigail in her baby carrier. The pictures of you with the family at Christmas – I showed all my friends at work recently – I am so proud to know such a fantastic family.

    We love you, we will miss you

    Katy and Aaron xxx .

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  29. The world will be a quieter place in so many ways without you Matt. You were a lovely booming opinionated funny gentle man and you were taken from us far too soon. I promise to look after Nansi and to try and remember at least one of your stories to tell Abigail when she is old enough.
    Chris Barker

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  30. Matt. Still can't believe you are gone. You were always so full of life and fun. One of the most passionate people I have ever, you never did anything half-heartedly. You loved Nansi and Abigail as fully and truly as they both deserved, and my heart breaks for them now. As many others have said, we will do our best to take care of your family, and you can be sure your daughter will know how wonderful her Dad was. I am thankful that I will always be able to hear your laugh and see your smile.
    Love Kate xxx

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  31. Over the course of many a drunken "deep and meaningful" Matt has always enlightened and entertained me. We share many of the same views and opinions on life and the world, but Matt has the envious knack of being always able to back his up with cold hard facts.

    I will never be able to think of him in his "spare" glasses - a pair of milk bottles held together by band-aids and hope - without cracking a smile.

    Nansi, you are amazing, we all love you very much and are here for you always.

    Jake xxx

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  32. I didn't know Matthew very well, but he was one of the few who came to my workshop on the last day of fightcamp 2008. I wish his family and friends a lot of strength to deal with the emptyness he left behind.

    Youval

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  33. Too soon, Matt. Way too soon. Words really don't work here. So I rob a little and edit a little from my favourites. First, Linton Kwesi Johnson:

    If I woz a Tap-Natch poet
    like Chriso Okigbo
    Derek Walcot
    ar T. S. Eliot

    I woodah write a poem
    soh dyam deep
    dat it bittah-sweet
    like a precious
    memari
    whe mek yu weep
    whe mek yu feel incomplete

    like wen yu lovah leave
    an dow defeat yu kanseed
    still yu beg an yu plead
    till yu win a repreve
    an yu ready fi rack steady
    but di muzik done aready

    still
    inna di meantime
    wid mi riddim
    wid mi rime
    wid mi ruff base line
    wid mi own sense a time

    ...

    if I woz a tap-natch poet
    like Tchikaya U'tamsi
    Nicholas Guillen
    ar Lorna Goodison

    I woodah write a poem
    soh beautiful dat it simple
    like a plain girl
    wid good brains
    an nice ways
    wid a sexy dispozishan
    an plenty compahshan
    wid a sweet smile
    an a suttle style

    ...

    And secondly, Mr Beckett:

    folly -
    folly for to -
    for to -
    what is the word -
    folly from this -
    all this -
    folly from all this -
    given -
    folly given all this -
    seeing -
    folly seeing all this -
    this -
    what is the word -
    this this -
    this this here -
    all this this here -
    folly given all this -
    seeing -
    folly seeing all this this here -
    for to -
    what is the word -
    see -
    glimpse -
    seem to glimpse -
    need to seem to glimpse -
    folly for to need to seem to glimpse -
    what -
    what is the word -
    and where -
    folly for to need to seem to glimpse what where -
    what is the word -
    there -
    over there -
    away over there -
    afar -
    afar away over there -
    afaint -
    afaint afar away over there what -
    what -
    what is the word -
    seeing all this -
    all this this -
    all this this here -
    folly for to see what -
    glimpse -
    seem to glimpse -
    need to seem to glimpse -
    afaint afar away over there what -
    folly for to need to seem to glimpse afaint afar away over there what -
    what -
    what is the word -

    what is the word

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  34. I had the pleasure of spending three happy and crazy years at University with Matt. He was like an extra member of our little student house and I can recall many a drunken night bouncing around and spouting philosophical nonsense with him and Mariam. Although we hadn't been in touch for many years I had news of him via Mariam and was delighted when I heard he was married with a little girl. I'm so sorry Matt that you're not with us any more. You filled the space around you with energy and passion. My life is richer for knowing you and you won't be forgotten.
    Love always, Isa X

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  35. matt, sitting writing this stuck on a train as the snow gently falls and surrounds us, reading the comments, seems a world away from setting the world to rights with you late at night, intellectually jousting across dan's kitchen against your encylclopaedic knowledge of far too many subjects, your razor sharp wit, and your infectious laugh. Im forever remembering my matt-facts as we used to call them didn't we- telling people about so few ships were sunk in the armada! We cannot believe you have gone. Love you Matt. Jock, rachel, lexi, Tay

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  36. Rest in peace Matt, you will be missed. I have no words to express my sadness, except to say that you were a unique soul and all who met you are better for it.

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  37. Matt - what a rare combination: kind, supportive, intelligent, passionate, creative and - someone's got to say it - beautiful!

    It was a joy to play with Matt, and to work with Matt. In particular, I will treasure the memories of the show we took to the Edinburgh Festival. Whenever tempers rose (which they did frequently!) Matt's smile a few witty words always diffused the situation.

    He was someone you could share any aspect of your life with - equally excellent company whether discussing an academic problem, or spinning round the dance floor like a tornado.

    It is a real testament to this wonderful man that I have been receiving messages from friends who have not seen him for years. Many of you will understand the sigificance of one of these messages which stated, 'he really was part of the Tollington family'.

    How fragile everything is - but we have all been deeply privileged to have known this amazing man and I know that, not not only will we keep his memory very much alive; but we will all give his beautiful wife and daughter love and support.

    Paul

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  38. Matt, we are proud that you are a Schola member and you always will be. You were a leading light the group and I saw the passion and care you gave to the students in Muswell Hill. You brought so much to the group. You were always asking questions, hungry for more knowledge all the time, always ready to share knowledge. You were a very good swordsman, and a fiercely loyal member. Someone to be very very proud of.
    We will honour you forever.
    Matt Easton
    Schola Gladiatoria

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  39. Matt, you always cheered me up, it only took a few moments and you'd crack a joke or just make me smile with that big smile of yours. I'll never forget your laugh! I loved it and its still as clear in my head as the first time i heard it. You smiled down at me many a time in West Central's office and i really enjoyed working with you. From now on i'll not think of Shakespeare (or the fairy Carabos!) without giving you a thought. You truley lit up people's lives, i honestly didnt know anyone who didnt love you.
    I'm sure Nansi will tell Abigail what a devoted and amazing dad you were and as she grows up we'll see your smiling face in her.
    If you find Mark Ventress (my bro) wherever you are say Hi from me.
    Love Katie xxxx

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  40. Matt,

    When I think of you I think of your laugh and it makes me smile. (You could be heard before you were seen on occasions – ok… Matt’s arrived!!) You brought your enthusiasm, intelligence, articulate qualities to every social gathering. You leave behind the nicest person I have ever met and your beautiful daughter Abigail who I’m sure will be laughing as loud as you one day! Rest in peace. Amy

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  41. I only met Matt a few times but rarely has someone left me feeling so positive and warm inside.

    Just simply a lovely man.

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  42. Dear Matt

    This loss is such an unfair tragedy. You and Nansi were such a happy and shining couple, a real inspiration to us all. Abigail is a gorgeous little girl blessed with both yours and Nansi's warmth, intelligance and beauty, and you will live you on in her. You will be so very very missed.

    Nansi, you have always been such a kind, loving person, please know how much I, and everyone wants to love and support you at this time.

    Camilla x x x

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  43. Matt, my words fail me completely. I will miss you so much - even though life made it harder to see each other that often, you were, you are, one of my best friends. As Sash said, the Sandford Road days were definitely among the happiest of my life. I am writing a letter to your little Abigail to tell a bit about what her Dad was like. A larger than life crazy funny nutcase always ready with a great story that risked turning into a rant if he managed to slip in too many glasses of wine in between... Matt, I cannot believe we'll never see you again. Nansi you have all our love and heartfelt thanks for making Matt happier and more at peace than I'd ever known him. Nansi and Abigail you will always be welcome with us in France.
    All love
    Harry xxx

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  44. Matt was my best friend, and the loveliest man I have ever known.

    He will always live on for me as an example of how to be a good person and how to enjoy life.

    Matt was beautiful right the way through. He always made me smile or laugh. He cared about many people, and clearly felt he was the luckiest man alive to share his life with Nansi, and then with Abigail too.

    I will never forget him, or the times we shared talking, joking, drinking, and generally enjoying life. Particularly, I will always remember him at his wedding to Nansi; when he was so radiantly happy on such a beautiful day. Without doubt his smile and laughter will warm my heart throughout my life, and I will feel safe and loved whenever I remember his hugs.

    I don't know whether I will return to London for the funeral. If I don't please be assured I am there in spirit with all who know me.

    Nansi; I love you very much and I want to do anything I can to help you and Abigail now, or in the future.

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  45. matt,you will be sadly misssed as this lovely blogg shows,I know I only met you on a few occassions, but I always remember the summer you came down to lympstone with nansi and jen,your lovely dark smile and huge pearly white grin not to mention that fantastic sparkle you put in to nansi eyes, please dont ever let it fade from her... we are all here to love and support nansie and abigail in any way they need us,no one here will ever forget you, love and hugs to all xxxx
    lucy

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  46. Rad and I were truely shocked to hear this tragic news. Having just returned from 6 months of traveling, now more than ever we understand the importance of living for the day and remembering what is truely important in life.

    Matt, we didn't get to spend enough time getting to know you, but one of our fondest memories will always be gate crashing your honeymoon and the wonderful evening we enjoyed in that Jazz club in Croatia. Nansi, our hearts go out to you and Abigail and just know that we are here for you.

    Linda and Rad

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  47. Me and Matt were good friends at College. There are very few people you meet who are such natural champions of the human race. Unforgettable people bubbling over with intelligence, energy and fun. Matt was one of those people and he will be missed mightily.
    James D

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  48. Still in a state of shock. Hard to put thoughts down in writing. You will be missed by all who had the pleasure of meeting you. A truely lovely person, with the most infectious laugh. My thoughts are with Nansi and Abigail. If you need anything don't hesitate to ask.

    Chi

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  49. Matthew was our beloved son. We adopted him in the States and got him when he was only four months old. He was always interested in history and wars. When he was about 6 he wrote a short history of Rome. He found his first fossil when he was four. We were camping and he brought this stone to me and said I have found a fossil and much to our surprise he had! He always made us laugh.
    We shall miss him so much as he brought so much joy to our lives. We were so pleased when he met Nansi. He rang me up and said, Mum, I have met the girl I am going to marry. So I said and what does she say. He said I have not asked her out yet! Anyway you know the rest. They were blissfully happy and he doted on his daughter Abigail who looks so like him as a baby
    Mum and Dad

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  50. When I was three I had a tricycle which I rode around the driveway of our house. I was on my tricycle when my father came and asked me, "Would you like a little brother?" I said "Yes" and we went down to the adoption centre and got one. Or that is how it seemed to me. He made a good first impression by giving me a set of wooden blocks and ramps you built into a run for marbles. I gave him a pink squeaky hedgehog. But my enthusiasm didn't last. I remember when it came to my fourth birthday party I didn't want to invite him, on the grounds that he was "too little and spoils everything".

    However, he improved over the years and has long since been one of my favourite people in the world and my chief ally against the unreasonable world of grown-ups, a good fight which he never surrendered. And when he met Nansi, well, he blossomed into the person he was always preparing to be.

    Matthew, these comments from your friends are a measure of how much love you have left behind. But who is going to give the authoritative verdict on the new Dr Who now?

    Love Carolyn xxxx

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  51. I lived with you and Nansi for a short while in 2004. It was a cramped house, mainly I remember your laugh, your opinions on everything and the hours you would make Nansi wait for her (consistently delicious) dinner!

    But mostly what I recall is how truly happy you had made Nansi and how happy that made us all. You were a intelligent, funny and genuine man who was a wonderful father and a loving husband. You will be sorely missed.

    Much love,
    Fran
    xxx

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  52. I remember one evening watching 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' with Matt and there was one line that I thought line could have been about Matt :

    "one of God's own prototypes -- a high powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production."

    Matt was such a great guy, such a tragic loss.

    Chris

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  53. Matt I will always remember you. You were such a fantastic person to talk to. You really were a warm, intelligent, funny, enthusiastic man to sit down and have a chat with. . .I will miss those conversations, whether just utter gibberish or longer chats about the world, a great deal.

    I remember when I was drawing the characatures of Nansi and you for your wedding invites. Despite having a very "characature friendly" face I just couldn't get you right. I think that's because your spirit is your biggest feature, and that's impossible to capture.

    Love always
    Cain

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  54. Matt - I only met you a handful of times, but from the first time we had a drink near Finsbury Park you made such a strong impression. I found you immensely funny, hugely intelligent, honest and genuine. I remember telling Tim that it is so rare to find people who are unafraid of unreservedly expressing their true selves to those around them, and I greatly respect you for that. Your strength of character, eloquence and confidence in your opinions is something I really admire, and I am sad that I will no longer have the chance to engage in some sort of debate with you. You were a wonderful man and it is so unfair that you have been taken away so unexpectedly.
    When we first met, Nansi was about to bring Abigail into the world, and I could feel how happy you all were by just being in your presence.
    I know you will be sorely missed by all those who loved you.

    Nansi & Abigail - I am so, so sorry.

    My heart goes out to you.

    Emma

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  55. Matt, thanks for everything mate, you were so interesting and enthusiastic, you made idle chat into a fascinating debate, this blog is testament to your spirit, it seems that you treated everyone and everything in your life with equal amounts of energy. I remember reading your and nansi's blog when i was on the train in Tokyo and you both brought your wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm at discovering the big wide world into my life. Your camping trips in the big national parks and your descriptions of ancient buildings, war memorials, museums and the hectic city life, all came alive. What i think sums up my memories of you was from your amazing speech at your wedding -being an actor of course we all expected nothing short of a shakespearean, poetic delivery, and when you summed up your thoughts and pointed to Nansi and simply said "I love her" it was incredible.

    I'm glad i had the chance to get to know you and i thank Nansi for bringing you into our lives. I will be sure to tell Abigail about you when she's old enough -you leave behind some amazing memories. Nansi, we are here for you when you're ready, we love you and you are in our thoughts.

    with love, Tim West

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  56. Nansi you and Matt were always a very unusual couple. Both of you exceptional, a rare breed, the type one doesn't meet often. It's no lie to say that when I first met you I thought "oh god people as genuine as that still exist". Your pain now must be excruciating and seem unbearably unfair - it does seem unfair to me. But if even some of that NansiandMattness is passed on to your daughter it will have been worth it. I'll be thinking of you all the time and let me know if there is anything you need. Susannah (Elliott) xxx

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  57. I got to know Matt through visits back to London to see Nansi. I can’t quite believe what has happened, it makes me very sad to think of you not being there anymore.
    Thanks for giving me your bed when I was pregnant and cooking lovely food (slowly!!) and babysitting May and lending me your gloves while waiting in a freezing taxi queue in Newcastle.
    Being with you and Nansi together always made me happy, so openly loving and yet easy to play gooseberry to.
    I'm thinking of you a lot just now and I send my love to Nansi and all your family.
    XXX
    Charmaine

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  58. Dear Matt,

    I am so sad that you have gone so early in life and heart-broken for Nansi and Abigail.

    From the first time I met you, when you got together with Nansi, I was so happy for Nansi that she had met such a wonderful guy - funny, intelligent, interested in the world and people around you, talented, kind and good looking.

    I always enjoyed your company - both intelligent and thought-provoking whilst fun and down to earth. I remember we shared similar views on many current affairs issues, and the middle east, but we disagreed on the existence of God!

    Your sudden departure is now really challenging my belief in God. But what I do know is that your life has definitely had real meaning and you certainly knew how to live life - a perfect example for us all.

    You have shared so much happiness and good times with your friends and family, you loved and cared for Nansi so much, you fathered beautiful Abigail, you worked and travelled, you cared about justice in the world and shared and articulated this so well to others, and you certainly knew how to enjoy a good red wine!

    I really hope you are resting in peace, knowing that your life has made a happy and meaningful impact on the people and the place you leave behind, and that Nansi and Abigail have so many loving friends and family who will care and look after them.

    God bless you Matt! I will try not to be sad but try to emulate "your smile" in life.

    Love Catharine

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  59. I am at a loss of what to say. I only met Matt on a couple of occasions and yet when I was told the news I have been touched and saddened by it. Matt - you were very much the life and soul of The Globe Players parties and I remember how embracing you were of everybody. You are very much missed by me; and for such a short time knowing you, you made a very vivid and lasting impression. That smile in so many of the pictures I have seen, is what I remember most. Someone whose smile reflected the vigour and energy they had for everything they did.

    Nansi and Abigail my thoughts are with you at this time. All my love.

    Luisa XX

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  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  61. There’s a picture there of me and Matt wearing big rucksacks. That was on the Isle of Mull. I think we were 12 or 13.

    That was the first real adventure we had without being accompanied by parents or adults. I can’t really remember the time-scales exactly, but I think that we simply set off for the hills and I remember having to navigate a path through lots of sodden bracken, the fine mist in our faces. It was Scottish summer.

    We reached the top of something. Quite exposed, but not a mountain exactly, but I remember that it was getting late and we decided we should camp and eat before it got dark. I remember we had a little argument about where to park the tent. The problem was that there was no clearing in the bracken, and the rain was really coming down and so we knew that the tent was going to be wet from the inside almost immediately. We had our waterproofs on with our hoods up. It was quite bleak.

    At some point we decided to eat something, or maybe we tried to make a cup of tea too, and we noticed that the bread we’d brought was mouldy. I think that’s what made us decide to turn back.

    We decided that, instead of sleeping, we would walk back ("yomping" as Falkland veterans would have said) to the house over night, but this time we would go via the country road rather than over the tough terrain we’d taken on the first leg of the journey.

    It was such a relief walking on the road compared to the bracken and the rocks and those sheep paths or whatever they were.

    We ate crunchy peanut butter from the jar and it got dark, so we decided to scare ourselves by telling stories. We did a few, and I hope Matt wouldn’t mind me saying this, but we were still at the tail end of our scatological/toilet humour phase and so the best one was one about a giant killer turd that took over the world.

    I remember that the story became quite involved. Whole communities were devastated, reservists were called in and obliterated, followed by the army and the marines. Lots of artillery, planes, sea defences etc trashed. Picnic-goers engulfed, housing rendered uninhabitable. Towns and villages perished. There was plenty of gory detail and it really was like one of those 70s disaster movies. Matt always had such a good imagination. He had a real grasp of detail and this made things funnier and more convincing.

    So we walked through the night towards where our families were staying, talking through these terrifying, but slightly humorous and twisted, scenarios. We didn’t feel the distance at all. It was totally quiet, except for our footsteps. And dark. I think we arrived at sunrise and I don’t really remember what happened next.

    Since then I went on lots of other adventures with Matt, mostly in the UK. So many long chats. He really was such a good conversationalist, and he understood me so well (warts and all). Even now, feeling as I do, I don’t think I have fully realised how much I’m going to miss him.

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  62. Rowdy he could be, but I don't remember Matt ever pushing himself to the front of anything. Without ever making it obvious, he was one of the most sensitive and thoughtful people I've met, extraordinarily sure-footed in gauging people's moods and responding invariably with good humour and generosity. It took me years to understand this, but when I did, it made him something of an inspiration to me. Not that he didn't have troubles of his own to deal with, but he would keep those to himself, rather than dump then on others. So it seemed a rare instance of justice that this man should find himself so fantastically in love and defy common sense and economics to live the life he and Nansi wanted. That inspired me too.

    Like so many of the people who have already written, I knew I could rely on Matt for a conversation that would be intelligent, informed, insightful, open and never dull. Matt would change the way I thought. He'd make me laugh at the same time. It was always a pleasure to see him (not many people you can honestly say that about) and I used to look forward to the prospect of knowing him, talking to him, going places together maybe, for years and years to come. He had blossomed since he got together with Nansi, and I could only see that continuing. I wanted to see the man he would become.

    I also owe it to Matt that I met Lara - some time after he met each of us separately, though that was probably for the best too! More than that, though, I remember sitting with them both in the room where I'm typing this now and noting his way of making her laugh - something I straightforwardly copied, with some success. So that's how much I owe him.

    Julian

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  63. Can I add to my borrowed prose and poetry above?

    It's true: Matt is the link between Julian and me, and that is an extraordinary thing. He came and did the fireworks at our wedding, with Dan Jones, and they stayed in a tent. I was in a state of complete terror - marriage! it seemed absurd! We all went out to dinner the night before the wedding - my family and a few friends, including Matt. I sat in stoney silence, staring terrified into the future, and I so clearly remember Matt (and Dan) patting me and coaxing me and making me laugh, helping me to keep it all in perspective.

    Earlier, when we all shared that house in Ducie Street, I got to know Matt in a strange way, through the sounds he made on the other side of the wooden panelling that divided our downstairs bedrooms. On one occasion, Matt rescued me from a man who I'd stupidly dragged home from a club, but turned out to be a mildly violent bastard. I just called out Matt's name from my bedroom - Matt! Help! - and he appeared, brave and heroic!

    I wish I hadn't left the washing up in his bed, when I lost my temper with you all for never washing up. Matt, please forgive me that wherever you are! And I wish I could wait for more late night meals cooked in duck fat, and coated in red wine.

    A truly great man. No enemies. Only admirers. I miss you sorely, but am also so pleased that we all know Nansi, and now Abigail.

    Lara

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  64. Dear Nansi - you see you are surrounded by people who love you. If you ever feel like falling, you can. We will catch you and bear you up on all our brave shoulders until you can see a bit of sky.
    Love,
    Friends

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  65. Lara, you just reminded me of Matt's bedroom in Millington Road. When we moved in we all got to choose our own bedroom carpets. Matt's was an emerald green; mine was a dark brown. I matched my carpet with peachy coloured walls and orange curtains - very 1970s but I loved it. So did Matt, who eventually decided he wanted peachy coloured walls too, and so he lived happily in his room with peach walls and emerald green carpet... I remember too the time he accidentally locked himself in that room and had to be rescued through the first floor window. Such a commotion, and after that we weren't allowed the keys in our doors any more.

    Matt and 'dull' just don't belong in the same room together, do they? I may have to keep coming back here with my memories, there are just so many of them and my heart is too full to hold them all, you daft sausage.

    Love you, Carolyn

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  66. Hello Nansi,
    We at Matts' Longsword group,Schola Gladiatoria,are devastated at Matts passing.We can only,at this point in time offer our codolences to you,Abigail and all the family for your loss.We had a valued member who's dynamism,enthusiasm and passion was a great inspiration to us.
    Farewell Matt,We will not forget you.

    Nick,SG4,Muswell Hill

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  67. Matt you were a great friend to me at university. So similar in a lot of views, but you always had a totally different take on things. A great laugh, lots of great books (I think I've still got one), a great attitude.

    Having you at my stag do - it was great to catch up again, I remember the next day eating a fry up breakfast with you, and laughing ourselves silly watching Carry On Up The Khyber, so bad it was good.

    Nansi - we only met once, in Birmingham, my heart goes out to you, he was a great man, all my deepest sympathies.

    Chris

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  68. Matt, at a time when I felt like an outsider (being a 10-11 year-old American spending a year abroad with his family), you welcomed me as an old friend without passing judgement, and we became fast friends again, as we often did each time we saw each other. Your joy was infectious.

    Most of all, I shall never forget playing "Jekyll & Hyde" with your father's whiskey as the poison that turned us evil. I wonder what the psychologists would say about that. How interesting that both of us, the sons of astrophysicists, would end up actors. It seems our bond was more perfect that either of us could ever know. God bless you. I will miss you.

    Michael

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  69. I was reminded of this poem by Ben Jonson, thinking about Matt today as I have done since I heard the terrible news -

    'It is not growing like a tree
    In bulk doth make Man better be;
    Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
    To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
    A lily of a day
    Is fairer far in May,
    Although it fall and die that night—
    It was the plant and flower of light.
    In small proportions we just beauties see;
    And in short measures life may perfect be'

    I met Matt at university and always remeber him as someone larger than life, with a raucous laugh you could hear from miles away. I know that he was so so happy after meeting Nansi, and knowing that he was settled and happy gives me some comfort. Matt, I know that wherever you are right now there are new Gods waiting for you with open arms and smiles.

    Helen Logan

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  70. I lay awake last night thinking of all the happy times I spent with Matt. Thought I'd share some...

    *In our compulsory dance lessons at university. Need I say more...
    *Talking late into the night about the rules to the gameshow he longed to see called 'Unnecessary Surgery'.
    *How he used to have to keep all his crucial belongings tied to his trousers on a grotty piece of string (his keys, student card etc) because this was the only way he wouldn't forget them! He once came to vist me in Margate, and my family couldn't believe that such a fiercy intelligent man had this manky old string tied to him. He still managed to lose his train tickets home, which my nan had to give him the money for. After that, she always referred to him affectionately as 'that nutter'.
    *Spending a week with him in Cambridge under the pretence of doing some work. Sitting by the river on a sunny day and getting told off by Dorothy when we came home drunk one night!
    *Me freaking out when I saw a huge spider. Matt took the mickey out of me until he saw just how large it was, and then spent half an hour in the bathroom talking to it whilst figuring out how to deal with it.
    *Being a totally disorganised but lovely best man for us at our wedding.
    *Phoning me one Christmas when he went to Centre Parcs with his family and screaming down the phone 'Help, I'm in a prison camp!'

    I could go on :)

    Mariam

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  71. Matt, I had the great pleasure of casting you in the short film "Hit" which was heaped with praise by Time Out et al, and subsequently of getting to know you socially along with Nansi and your beautiful daughter whom I was introduced to for the first time at Becky's party in December. You were so proud and I was so happy for you. Seeing all these photos reminds me of how you always seemed to have a smile on your face. You brought such a positive energy to the film set and life in general and it is unbelievable to lose you so suddenly and tragically. Paul

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  72. This is not right. Look at you, you're a handsome bastard Matt, I'm looking at the pictures and I can hear your rolling great laugh as some insane scheme takes your fancy. At University you were a huge presence, fiercely intelligent, compassionate and chaotic. How can all that energy have gone? The last time I saw Matt, too long ago, we talked about how we'd squandered all our hair. So from one baldie to another, you rest easy. Love Richard

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  73. Dear Matt, I was so sad to hear this terrible news. What a cruel world. Such a lovely man and such a happy little family the three of you made together. Thank you so much for all your fantastic enthusiasm for everything, I am so sorry to not have the chance to get to know you better.
    I remember our conversation at Christmas; you were so generous and helpful with all your ideas and advice, I was looking forward to many more with you.
    Goodbye, you will be so missed.
    Nansi, all my love to you.
    Sophie xx

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  74. Dear Matt,
    Right now words are totally inadequate. My feeling of loss is overwhelming.

    We had many good times together. I remember them all. The wonderful, anarchic years in Birmingham, Our house in Sandford Road with Harry, John and Sasha. Good times at Ipley; I distinctly remember that one midnight ramble across rain sodden fields and muddy ditches with you and Jim one February night in 1995. My wedding day that turned into a 3 day party. We danced, we sang, we swam in the Oslo fjord, we even played monopoly. (I was paired with you. We lost badly - neither of us were born capitalists). And not least our last time together at Harry’s house in the south of France in 2006. We spent a week drinking rose wine and philosophising late into the night. As usual we put the world to rights that week. And there I also met Nansi. I could see how happy you were.

    These are just a few recollections, there are many more. All of them so vivid. Thank you for these memories. I will miss you.
    Tim

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  75. Dearest Nansi,abigail and Jenny.I was Shocked and saddened by the news of matt's death.My heart is with you at this time.I hope you can take comfort from the outpourings of love for matt.Love to you all,Michele Moran

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  76. Matt was the messiest person I have ever met. But every now and then he would tidy - putting all our scattered stuff into piles. He would then spend the next few hours saying 'Look how tidy it is' after which time it would already be a total mess again.

    He had the nicest feet of any man I have ever met.

    He had developed a habit of 'doing a little dance' to cheer me up if I was cross. This involved moving one index finger and one eyebrow, and looking very pleased. It was invariably followed by him asking me if I thought I'd made a terrible mistake marrying him. I always said yes.

    Matt showed me which of his two spears I should use on any intruder into our flat - it was much better balanced than the other one.

    I remember the moment I met Matt. He was sitting next to Leigh in a singing rehearsal in the Torriano. I just remember this huge smile coming towards me and saying hello.

    Matt liked to wear his clothes until they fell off him in rags. When we first got together he was amazingly badly dressed, and had the most awful shoes. Abi and Brid took him out and remodelled him. He then wore those smart new clothes till they fell apart. Why buy clothes when there are bookshops?

    Matt never ever cleaned the shower. This annoyed me for a while, until he pointed out that he only ever went in there without his glasses on, so had no idea it was dirty.

    There is nothing I wish I'd said to Matt. It was all said and known already. Though I would have liked to have the chance to say 'come on dear, time to pick up our pensions'.

    Matt was phenomenally disorganized. He would be really pleased with himself for having had a week with loads of work, but then entirely forget to send out any invoices, and not get paid. I once found a cheque in his pocket which was 18 months old, still waiting to be paid in.

    Matt lost his wedding ring in December. That is a shame.

    There is nothing I am regretting we didn't have time to do. We did everything we planned. There were millions of things, but they were all for when Abigail was older.

    We were lucky enough to spend six months travelling in 2006 - all paid for by very generous wedding presents. I was 33, Matt was 36. The people we met were mostly at least ten years younger and thought we were very old married people, and slightly odd for not being at home working and paying a mortgage. It was the most wonderful experience. We collected turtle eggs to save them from poachers, and carried the young turtles to the sea in Costa Rica. We trekked down into the Grand Canyon. We climbed volcanoes - dead ones and swam in the craters, live ones and toasted marshmallows on the lava flow. We joined a protest demonstration in San Francisco. We stayed with a family in a Guatemalan cloud forest - and one of their chickens laid an egg on Matt's feet when he was asleep in bed. We were sung to in a gondola in Venice - Las Vegas. We dived with sharks in the Blue Hole in Belize. We met Matt's newly found American family. We watched the sun rise over Mayan ruins. We made friends with a group of Nicaraguan blokes and found that the more rum and coke we drank with them the more Spanish we could speak. We crossed a fast flowing river on the remains of a bridge that was almost washed away. We ate the best food ever from a stall under a motorway bridge in Mexico City.

    We came home and had a beautiful baby girl.

    Matt was the most wonderful father. If he wasn't working I would always have to wake him up plenty of time before Abigail was ready for a nap because the sight of him would get her all excited for ages. On Tuesday morning just after he got up Abigail and I were sitting on the floor and he was on the sofa reading the paper. Abigail loves papers and magazines. He put down the paper he was reading because he wanted to keep it, and picked up the Business Section, which he didn't want to keep. He then made a big show of being really interested in it. Abigail got really excited by this. Then he gave her the paper. She was so delighted to have it, and waved it around for about ten minutes in great excitement, and Matt laughed. That was just before their last moment together - when he said he thought she was tired and he'd put her in bed. They went off to the bedroom. He was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star quietly in her ear. Moments later he came back into the sitting room and collapsed.

    His last moments were loving his little girl.

    Nansi

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  77. I met Matt thro my sister Mariam when they were at birmngham uni.. He was the sort of person you meet and liked straight away,even though i didnt know any of her uni friends he straight away made me feel welcome.I remember walking through the uni grounds and he walked with me chatting about how horrid the tower block there was.
    I was lucky enough to meet him several times epecially when, as my sister has said, he came down to Margate on my daughters birthday and with his bit of string,still managed to lose his ticket lol!!! He also spent one Christmas with my sister and I in Margate with our families in which we had a great time. I will.. when i find them.. put some pictures on here of that christmas,
    My heart goes out to Nansi and Abigail at this dreadful time....
    Matt was one in a million,on asking my sister how matt was taking fatherhood she replied.. 'He is besotted and so in love with abigail !!! and how happy he is being married and settled.
    If there ever was a time capsule of memories for Abigail I would put in as my memories of her Dad....
    A piece of string.. with a key..card etc..lol
    A huge Smile
    A huge heart
    A huge zest for life
    and the words said by mariam about her.. how he was besotted and so in love with her

    Good bless you matt...
    you will be missed greatly by so many x.x.x.x.x.x.

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  78. Lou and I first met you Matt when you suddenly ran into our tent! Well, what you really did was you ran to our pouch as it suddenly poured down with rain [August 2003-New Forest Park Farm] with Nansi. You were wearing a Mexican hat with corks hanging off it and smiling away with Nansi. We shared the Barbie in the pouch so that we all could eat that night in the rain!
    One of the last times we had a good chat with you was on Catharine and Del’s Wedding day. You let us know that Lou’s horrible puffy swollen eye may not be just a small hay fever allergy and that it could be a serous type of conjunctivitis…you were right! Thank you Matt.
    R.I.P
    Angus

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  79. I will remember Matt as a very good Iago. Few people got to see it, partly because it was in a tiny theatre off the King’s Road, and partly because we had to end the run abruptly, for reasons I might be sued for going into. It’s a hard part to play. He had to be extremely articulate. He had to convince as a soldier: a man’s man, somebody who everybody liked. He had to fight well. He had to charm the audience. He had to be funny. He was really good at it.

    I will remember Matt had a fine line in courtly gesture: in life, as well as on the stage. He was gallant, to men and women. He was a generous audience member as well as a generous actor. He was often the first person to laugh at jokes – especially his own jokes, especially if they were dirty. He laughed so suddenly and freely and madly, people who didn’t know him thought he was putting it on. He recommended brilliant books about physics and history. His hand gestures were so huge as to be dangerous. He was good at righteous indignation, at endless full-stop-free invective but even mid-rant, could giggle at his own foolishness. He was probably the best swearer I ever met, and easily the worst dresser. He dressed like a clown. He fought misery for a long time, and suddenly, he won.

    I remember Matt first showing me Nansi’s headshot… how he loomed and grinned and nodded like some crazed satyr. Many people have said how he was transformed by his love for Nansi. He came into his own. Then, the last time I saw him, to meet Abigail, he seemed just like himself, only more so. He gave meaning to the stock phrase ‘bursting with pride’.

    I cannot begin to do justice to the greatness, the softness, of Matt’s heart, nor imagine the grief of all his family: old and new, and lately discovered. I have always assumed that I would know Matt for a long time. I am so sad I won’t. I hope I will know Nansi and Abigail. I was lucky to have met Matt. I was lucky to work with him. I was lucky to call him my friend.

    Abi Burdess

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  80. In intellectual debate ... I will think of you
    Engaged in martial arts... I will think of you
    Lighting a spliff ... I will think of you
    Raising a pint ... I will think of you
    Thinking of friends ... I will think of you

    I will think of you

    Ed

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  81. Matt was a memeber of the County Cup winning Cambridge Colts team of 1989. He was an outstanding prop who lead the singing as we shunted opposition packs all over the park. We remember , as do most, that infectious smile and ready wit that so defined his character. Some may remember him for his performance art but we will remember the bloke who anchored our scrum, the bloke who you went to in a tight spot, our friend. It is our twenty year re union this Saturday and i hope you are looking down Matt, because we will be looking up with a raised glass.

    God Bless mate

    The Colts

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  82. It would be hypocritical of me to say that I knew you well, Matt. You were more of a mate's mate than a mate of mine, if you know what I mean - mate. But still a mate nonetheless. So a loss to me, too.

    No more horsing around, then.
    See you in the next life.
    Rest in peace.
    Alex

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  83. While chatting with my sister Cally last night she reminded me of a "game" that Matt used to play at me as kids. We would both be riding our bicycles in the street in front of our house and Matt would ride directly towards me at what seemed like a million miles an hour saying "I'm going to crash into you!" Invariably I would dump my bike in the middle of the road and run noisily into the house. I now know his intention was to terrify and then avoid me but at the time Blimey, it felt real. It feels very weird that I can never talk to him again about the silly things we used to do. I've been trying to make sense of all this but have come to the conclusion that it just doesn't make any sense at all. Sleep well, dear brother. I'll speak to you in the next life if Yvette Fielding will give you a moment! Xxx

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  84. I first knew Matt during the very formative years of sixth-form at Hills Road. Turned out we lived around the corner from each other, so we spent those two years in and out of each others' houses. He was such an amazing, messy, rude, hilarious giant of energy. We would watch silly films in the afternoon, working our way through the Schwarzenegger oeuvre, lapping up Monty Python, absorbing David Cronenberg.

    We were in The Tempest together as the clowns, and the clowning continued afterwards. We went to the pub, we went to parties, we both failed to get girlfriends. We swore a lot. There was much swearing.

    Traditionally he would ring my doorbell, hide in the undergrowth and leap out brandishing automatic weapons and bellowing choice words from the Anglo Saxon dictionary. My dad found this hilarious as he opened the door to him once, and this is one of the Legends of Matt in my family.

    I remember a party out in the country where for various reasons we both got extremely ill. Just before I passed out in the garden, Matt came over, rubbed my back and gave me the reassuring words "don't worry, it will only last a few more hours..."

    On the eve of my 19th birthday, he was due back at university the next day, and I was taking a gap year. He treated me to a piss-up at a pub in Cambridge which went from beer to brandy (for some reason) then on to a kebab. He held it all down better than i did.

    He stayed with me in Glasgow where I was at university and we did three splendid Jake and Matt things: went to the pictures and saw Alien 3, went to Laser Quest and went to Alien War where we were chased around corridors by the beasts in the film. War and horror films all together - perfect.

    Although we were fairly relaxed about keeping in touch, I did lose track of him around the late 90's - he moved flat and I had no forwarding details. I often felt the lack of him very keenly, and after he had popped into my dreams a few too many times, I managed to hunt him down through his agent. I sent him a card which he got not long after his wedding - he'd been trying to get hold of me for it, but clearly the timing was just out. I'm sorry to have missed the great event, but am overjoyed to have made contact again. We saw each other a few times, I met Nansi who is the perfect match for him, and I last saw him just before they went to the Americas.

    Our usual inability to get back in touch properly hounded us again. We got a bit of Facebook communication going briefly and I heard the news about the imminent Abigail.

    And now this. I'm desperately sad not to have seen him being a father, and desperately sad not to be able to see the bounding puppy-like energy of the man, but I'll be grateful for the rest of my life that I had him in it. One of the cornerstones has gone, and the world's a different shape now.

    I've just read Nansi's words, and the sense of heartbreak I feel to have lost such an amazing human for myself cannot touch on the loss she has to take forwards. Oh dear Matt, you've left a great big hole behind and nobody can fill it.

    I love you, you daft bastard.

    Jake

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  85. This blog is fantastic. It makes me cry and laugh in equal measure. It also takes me back to so many different eras in Matt's life. Jake Messenger and those weird movies, Hills Road and, most surprisingly of all, rugby.

    I don't expect that many people know about Matt's life as a rugby player. He didn't advertise it very much to his "thesbian" friends (God, he hated that word). I think Matt Deans would agree that he took on the full persona (as he did in every other part of his life, eh?), playing hard on the pitch and then harder in the pubs of Cambridge.

    I never accompanied him on rugger beer-swilling sessions. Hey, I wasn't part of the team. But I know that rugby used to be the major part of his life and gave him real confidence during his late teens. He also used to credit it with greater stage presence due to his increased physicality.

    When we were about 12, even though he was younger than me, he used to beat me at the 100 meters (he beat everyone at that time).

    Then, as he got heavier and bulkier playing rugby he got slightly slower and I remember being so proud when I finally (marginally) beat him. Wouldn't 've wanted to try and wrestle him though! Or play rugby against him.

    People do forget what a formidable physique he had in those days. Except the girls who knew him then maybe...

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  86. Dan's right, it is cheering to read the stories people have written on here about our appallingly vigorous friend Matt - so I thought I would add some of my own.

    When we were living in happy squalor in Ducie Street I had a horrible job that drove me a bit nuts. Matt used to hide in a large and usefully frondy tree on the way between Brixton Station and our house and wait patiently for me to pass - whereupon he would leap out and shout Arse! with his beautiful irreverence. Back at the house a good hour of jousting and general playfighting later I would be calm. Proof of this takes the form of a big dent the (then) size and shape of my backside in the wall which we had to cover to avoid the landlord seeing it.

    Or I could mention the time Matt got held up at knifepoint by a crazed drug addict who bluffed his way into our chaotic house. After a long chat about who was maintaining the moral highground in the sordid affair, Matt was returned ten pounds of the funds he had handed over as the chap made his own way out. He also secured the return of the only sharp knife we owned, vital for the production of the red-sauce-of-ten-hours-making which he negotiated by pointing out to the concerned thief that if it was dropped down the back of the fridge he would be long gone by the time it was retrieved. Very clever, I say.

    Noone was impervious to his charm.

    Finally, as Dan said, Matt was great at rugby even though perhaps jostling with the lads was not his natural environment. He found a way of dealing with this by becoming famed for the distance over which he could project his pee at the end of the night. Sorry to lower the tone, but I think, Matt, you approve don't you?

    Jo

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  87. I met Matthew when running a Stage Combat course in London. I was thrilled to have Matthew as a member of the course, not just because of his high knowledge and skill level, but because you only had to look at him to see that he was open to teaching others and learning from others, doing it all with a huge smile on his face.
    I had many interesting conversations with Matthew, and found his attitude to training infectious, he worked hard, but throughout was having great fun.
    He filled each journey back on the tube with a lot more laughter, little known facts, and discussions about obscure fifteenth century fight masters than could ever have been possible without him.

    Richard

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  88. I only met Matt once, when he was best man at Richard and Mariam's wedding. I wish I had known him better. Someone who is loved by so many people must have been very special.
    Anne Gunson

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  89. What amazing memories and stories people are sharing about you Matt. I still can't believe you are gone.

    You had such a huge appetite for life and for ...food. I will never forget cooking in Dan and Kay's kitchen (which I have done many a time including throwing noodles all over the floor and walls late at night...)and being told that Matt was coming so I knew that every crumb would be hooooovered up...

    I loved your sense of humour, your laugh and your amazing ability to look on the bright side of life. You have such great friends, a beautiful daughter and wonderful wife with whom we will create more lovely memories and ensure that you are never forgotten.

    Karina

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  90. As Matt Deans has already said, Matt was a big personality in a team full of lively rugby mad 17/18 year olds. I also knew Matt from Hills Road days and feel numb at the truly saddening news of his premature departure.

    I phoned my Dad straight away with the terrible news and he expressed his deep sadness for Matt as he had known him throughout his youth rugby playing days as our coach/minder.

    Most of us lost touch as we all went our separate ways but reading through all of the comments and looking at the lovely photos with Matt's beaming smile it is clear that Matt packed an awful lot of life into the last 20 years.

    You can guarantee that this Saturday afternoon over a few pints we will be reminding each other of stories of Matt with great fondness - I can hear his laugh now.

    Richard Ashley

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  91. I knew Matt through acting – I employed him on a couple of contracts at the Museum of the Moving Image - and after MoMI closed, had the pleasure to work with him at the British Museum where Matt brought his characteristic intelligence, enthusiasm and sense of fun to a difficult mission – playing Omai, a South Sea Islander brought back to England by Captain Cook in the 18th century...

    Researching, working with and directing Matt was always a great pleasure – he always prepared for roles enthusiastically, researched diligently and asked some very difficult questions, and sometimes we even found the answers :-)

    Matt had recently contacted me to see if there were any other roles going at the moment – unfortunately there weren’t. I’d been trying for some time to get Matt into the National Football Museum, to play the part of Arthur Wharton, the first black professional footballer in England (there’s an uncanny resemblance) and I know he’d have done it brilliantly, even though he didn’t care for football at all – with a true dedication to the facts and the memory of the man. Sadly that will not now happen.

    In all the roles I saw Matt deliver in the world of museum theatre, visitors were touched by his passion, sense of humour (that always supported and didn’t undermine the character) and integrity. I’m deeply sorry that I will never get the chance to work with Matt again, and I know that colleagues I’ve spoken to over the last few days feel the same.

    The news of Matt’s sudden death was unexpected and shocking, and seems so unfair. My thoughts are with Nansi – I’m so glad you guys did that marvellous travelling together – a truly inspired way to celebrate your wedding – and with Abigail, who would have enjoyed so many great times with such a wonderful Dad.

    Andrew Ashmore

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  92. Matt,

    I just cannot believe that I won’t see you again, because I can see and hear everything I know about you as clear as day.

    I can see your dark brown lively, playful brown eyes, I can smell the curry you cooked last night on your jumper, I can hear you having a “lively debate” with Mike or Tony, or shouting to Nansi “Oi, wiiiiieeeef!”. I can see you being annoyingly good at fencing straight away. I can see you cooking something nice. I can see that book you’re reading about something important going on in the world, which puts me to shame because I never read anything.

    Because you were interested in everything, the world, politics, history, military history, food, cooking, drinking, travelling, people. Everything. You were the epitomy of grabbing life by the balls, and giving a shit about things that didn’t need to affect you. You tried things out.

    I can see you asleep in the back of the van, hear you ranting about secondary school teachers, and I can see your trainery shoe thingies under one of those bench things they have in primary schools, next to a snotty tissue.

    I can hear you raging against football and many of the people who watch it, but I can also hear you talking very gently and calmly.

    I love the way you always said what you thought when most of us don’t have the guts, I love the way you and Nansi have matching massive smiles, and I love the way you bundled Abigail up for the cold after Becky’s party when I saw you last.

    I don’t see you all the time, which is why this hasn’t sunk in. My head knows I’m going to miss you, but it hasn’t quite accepted that it needs to yet. Still seeing that smile very clearly.

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  93. We have all been devastated by Matt’s death. The last thing in the world we expected.

    You couldn’t find a better example of a happy couple than Nansi and Matt.

    Others in their position might have chosen to sit tight and wait till they had more funds. Not them. They just went off and had an amazing series of adventures in the Americas, which we were lucky enough to share by following their brilliant and delightfully witty blog. (We could all share in their agony as they described one particular endless-seeming car journey during which they felt impelled to listen to the only available radio station which “… played two types of music: country and western.”)

    When they came back from their travels, and Abigail arrived, they seemed to be just blissfully happy.

    Sad to say, it wasn’t to last, and Matt has gone.

    But he didn’t just disappear without trace. Matt has left Nansi with countless happy memories – and a daughter who is a sheer delight.

    Goodbye, Matt. And well done!

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  94. I knew Matt at University and, although I haven't seen him in many years, those Birmingham memories still burn very bright. It was a crazy, fun and so very happy a time and I shall always remember Matt's huge smile and the way it light up a room and pub table.

    I was so sad to hear the dreadful news and my thoughts and love go out to Nansi and Abigail who I never got the opportunity to meet but from the sounds of all these blogs obviously made Matt one hell of a happy guy.

    Jo Williamson

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  95. I've always considered Nansi to be more of a big sister than a cousin. I certainly ticked the boxes of annoying little sister at some stages - developing crushes on her boyfriends, demanding piggybacks from her friends in the grounds of Richmond College, and marching into her room and waking her up when I'd skived school and wanted company. I've always looked up to her, as one of the prettiest, bubbliest and most down to earth women I know. I think Matt was the only person I've met with a grin bigger than hers. Nansi and Matt's beautiful wedding ceremony in the park followed by a game of cricket in the sunshine, and their wonderful choice of outfits for the day, perfectly sums up the simple philosophy that they lived by and that created their gorgeous daughter.

    I took the picture of Matt, Nansi and Abigail on Christmas Day which has been posted on the blog. Such an incredibly happy little family. I remember being so impressed over Christmas at how involved Matt was with Abigail, putting her in her sling and heading off to the park to get her to sleep because she was feeling groggy. He was clearly besotted and it breaks my heart that Abigail is not going to experience that first hand as she grows up and that Matt will not be here to watch his little lady transform into an undoubtedly beautiful woman with a huge smile, quick wit, penchant for sword-fighting and the ability to run my dad Tony and my uncle Mike into the ground with political and cultural debate. It will be everyone's pleasure to make sure Abigail has a very strong sense of what an incredible father she had.

    It has been wonderful to learn more about Matt through reading this blog. What fantastic memories everyone has. I feel humbled that a man who touched people in this way was part of my family, yet I almost certainly took it for granted while he was alive and for that I will always be sorry. I never saw him act either which I suspect is a great shame.

    I love you so much Nans. I have spent every minute this last week wishing that I could take some of your pain away, I cannot bear how devastating this is for you. I know there aren't many words which can offer much comfort at the moment but you experienced the kind of euphoric happiness with Matt that some people can only dream of and you can be sure that all of us will help keep that memory alive. For you...and for Abigail, who will be your best friend. She has the best of both of you and certainly the "Matt-isms" that she develops as she grows up will bring you and everyone who loved Matt endless joy and laughter. Although let's hope that from the teens onwards she has Matt's eyes from the outside but not the inside (your words) or I will not be taking a shower at your house!!

    As someone eloquently wrote a few days ago: "If you ever feel like falling, you can. We will catch you and bear you up on all our brave shoulders until you can see a bit of sky". I can't put it better than this.

    Matt - you handsome, cheeky devil...we will miss you every single day. Our family has changed forever but it is so much richer for having you as part of it. I use the present tense because you will never truly be gone. I promise to make sure your girls never stop smiling.

    Kel xxxx

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  96. Matt was such a wonderful person to know - I shared many of those insanely fantastic Sandford Road moments at Birmingham, London, the New Forest and Oslo... I'm so happy he found so much love and happiness with Nansi and Abigail and all the people who knew and loved him so much. I can still see his wonderful wicked smile so vividly as he prepared to leap out at his unwary friends. A unique life force who will stay with us all.
    Sam x

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  97. Matt was a fantastic, brilliant, wonderful person and a fantastic, brilliant, wonderful actor. Lots has been written here about the person, so I thought I’d concentrate on the actor.

    I met him when he joined West Central Management, and swiftly drafted him into the New Factory of the Eccentric Actor.
    His performances for us were amazing. He first appeared with the company as Jules Valles in New Babylon 1871, and his commitment to the role was staggering. A lover of history (if not the politics of the commune) the whole idea of the show tickled him. And of course, it was on this show that he and Nansi met for the first time, which only makes memories of it more special.

    He was an actor who could really be counted on to bring something to any part. When I cut “A Doll’s House” to 8 minutes for Lenin in London, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Matt to play the (now) non-speaking role of Krogstad. He was electric, at turns pantomime villain, wronged lover and victim; and with him in the part, who better than Nansi to play Mrs Linde? The kiss at their reconciliation was so touching, just perfect.

    In 1905 we cast Matt and Nansi as husband and wife, and I know he particularly enjoyed their feckless communist party scenes. They were written in language inspired by his uncle-in-law-to-be Tony and the Worker’s Revolutionary Party. Once again, Matt’s commitment shone. The sight of him, Penny and Maxine carrying crates around meaninglessly while spouting equally meaningless jargon was hilarious.

    When I was researching General Strike 1926, one of the first characters I wanted in the show was Hamilton Fyfe, the editor of the Daily Worker – he was the main source for a lot of the scenes I was writing. I knew it was a perfect part for Matt, with his attention to detail, commitment and enthusiasm for history. I was able to give him Fyfe’s memoirs as a present (and for research) and, of course, he turned his scenes in the newsroom into honed, committed, engrossing dramas.

    His last show for us was Victory Over The Sun, in December. Once again, his fierce intelligence and love of fun were perfect allies for a show that was hard to understand. He and I really surprised ourselves and each other on it, and I had a lovely chat with him in the pub afterwards. Sadly, it was to be the last time we saw each other.

    During his time with West Central, he was also an amazing Biff in Death of a Salesman, and I know how excited he was when Nansi’s mother Jenny was cast as Linda Loman in a new production. Jenny told me last night that Matt had recently looked out the programme from his version to show her.

    Meetings, read throughs, performances, parties – Matt just made them all better.

    I know I speak for Penny, Gary and Jonathan as well when I say that we were truly blessed to have known Matt and to have had his talents at our disposal for our shows. He was a stalwart, wonderful, shining performer.

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  98. Nansi; yours and Matt's wedding was one of the most beautiful we've ever been to. We're devastated to hear of Matt's death, when life seemed to be at its fullest with the birth of your beautiful daughter Abigail. Our thoughts are with the whole family, and we know that Abigail will grow up surrounded by love. Look after each other.
    Love to you all,
    Lida, Chris, Sonia and Christie

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  99. Here beneath the stars I'm mending,
    I'm here beneath the stars not ending,
    Why on earth am I pretending
    I'm here again, the stars befriending,
    They come and go of their free will.
    Go gently.
    All our love Nansi to you and Abigail
    Lynne,Tony, Sophie and Ellie May

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  100. Top bloke
    and a fine example of being alive.
    I was moved by the forcefield of love emanating from Nansi and Matt when they visited dubai,
    with that protecting them I'm sure Nansi and Abigail are going to be just fine
    Matt will make an exemplary ghost, and is probably sharing his "jumping out" techniques as we speak ...
    Corbin x x

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  101. Dear Nansi,

    I only met Matt once - when we went to see Glynne's band in the underground pub. I was pregnant and you and Matt were about to go travelling. Charmaine and my sister were there too.

    I remember Matt very clearly and the event. It was lovely to hear that you'd got married and had a little girl.

    This news is very shocking. Life is relentless with its unexpected round the corner things it has in store for us all.

    To echo what has been said above - I am here for you and Abigail at any time.

    Lots and lots of love,

    Nicky xxx

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  102. a few words by a french guy who cross Matt's road on the fightcamp at the royal gundpowder mills and who find Matt a very good man and a pleasant friend

    condolences

    Regards

    Alex

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  103. When you remember Matt’s acting, you may remember him in the role of dashing hero or tormented tyrant, but for me it will always be the Porter in Macbeth. Repulsive, lecherous and very, very funny, he left the audience in fits of laughter after vomiting into the front row.

    Thank you, Matt, for being such a lovely, childish friend for Charlotte. When you two first met and started to do battle I used to tell Charlotte to stop pestering, until I realised it was you provoking the fight!

    You could always be relied upon for a drunken late-night chat. I remember one night, when I needed to go to the loo and there was no stopping your flow of fascinating facts. You followed me up the stairs, and as I closed the door in your face you were still talking - and then carried on after I came out as if there had been no interruption.

    Thank you for giving me such a gorgeous great-niece Abigail. Abigail is going to know more about her lovely daddy than most people ever do.

    Brilliant father, husband and friend, you will be sorely missed by us all.

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  104. Dear Matt,

    I just want to thank you for so many things.

    For being such a wonderful son-in-law. I loved being in your company, and we only really fell out on the subject of Jane Austen and the Ballet – not bad for mother-in-law/son-in-law.

    For the joy, love, fun, excitement and perfect companionship that you shared with Nansi. Knowing that she was so completely happy made me so completely happy.

    For Abigail.

    For being such an amazing father to Abigail. For dealing with every challenge that this new role presented with such wisdom, maturity and delight that it took my breath away. Abigail is now a baby with a great sense of humour and seriously in danger of inheriting her father’s laugh – what a great start in life.

    For being a fabulous “uncle” – just a wonderful, inexhaustible player with children. Entering their world so completely and tirelessly – I suspect that many a time the child was the first to flag. I am so sad these delights enjoyed by Charlotte and so many other children will not be there for Abigail to enjoy.

    For being such a vivid, bold and completely committed actor. This is how and why I first knew you. Your casting in The Rose and the Ring was one of the best decisions ever. And since then – so many fabulous performances: your hideously lascivious Porter, outrageous Richard III and really stunning Macbeth.

    For being great company. A lovely man. Honest and bold in your opinions and ready to share your knowledge and enthusiasms with an infectious passion. A wonderful smile, a great warmth and energy for life.

    How I wish you had stayed.

    How I miss you.

    My love and thanks forever.

    Jenny, X

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  105. I first met Matt and Nansi at Swash and Buckle Fencing Club. I remember that day well. There was a new crop of beginners doing the warm up on their first night. As I scanned the new arrivals I first spotted an attractive young lady, and then saw a young man wearing the somewhat outlandish, in the context, outfit of beach shorts and sandals - hardly appropriate wear for several hours of vigorous exercise.

    Of course, the young man in question turned out to be Matt, and the attractive young lady Nansi, both of whom I subsequently grew to love.

    Matt was such an interesting person. Intelligent, erudite, witty, and above all warm-hearted, he was one of those people whose mere presence made the world seem a better place.

    Matt, the world is most definitely a worse place without you. I will miss you and remember you always.

    With love
    Nigel

    Later that evening, I

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  106. Matt said he remembers me coming home from the hospital when I was born. I don’t remember anything before I was about 7 and Matt was 2 and half years older than me. What is for sure is that Matt was there for as long as I can remember, and at all the important events.
    Matt was my big brothers friend, though they were never mean big siblings in my memory and we definitely used to play together when we were small. I looked up to him as a funny friendly chap, who always won in all our horrid childhood games. Johnny and I didn't really stand a chance of course.
    As we grew up, the age gap clossened. Matt was my first snog (I am sure he improved his technique over the years).
    Years later we sat listening to Hawkwind in the lifeguards hut when he was a pool attendant as a summer job.
    He often told me I wore and still wear too much make-up.
    He also told Dave and me that we would make great parents when we were expecting Arthur, on what authority I don’t know, but we clung onto that prediction when we had no idea what to do with said child.
    I have a strange sense of de ja vous since Matt died. I realise that is because when Matt burnt his leg when we were teenagers it was the second worst thing that had happened in my life-time. I worried about him so terribly. Dan and I visited him despite the fact he was in isolation at the time. It was the worst thing that happened to anyone I knew who was our age. Matt has now top trumped himself, this is the new worst.
    Matty I love you.
    Dorothy, Peter and Molly my thoughts are with you, for bringing him into the world and bringing him up, I am in your debt.
    Nansi and Abigail, I am here for you until you beg me to leave you alone.
    Meg xx

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  107. Teresa Chavez-Ross17 February 2009 at 15:17

    My dear, dear, dear Matt

    So many years knowing you and so little time lately.
    May be it’s only the distance between Barcelona and London that makes very, very difficult to allowed me to understand that you are not here. But it might only be that you will never go. Didn’t matter where or how, we always knew “we were there” for each other. My friend, class-mate, flat mate, brother … Matt, every comment made in this page is right and shared. “allo, darling” . I will miss you so, so much. It was a real honour to have met you, my dear friend. Keep laughing, keep getting happy and exited about the Universe as you did along this time we could share with you.
    Nansi. I’m truly and enormously sorry I won’t be able to make it for tomorrow. Know that since Lucy called me, my thoughts and heart have been with you and little Abigail at every moment. Although we only meet briefly on your weeding, to see and feel how immensely happy Matt was, gave me the certain idea of how such beautiful person you are.
    I’m making arrangements to come to London within the next few weeks and will mean a lot if I can meet up and hold both you and Abigail.
    Tanti, tanti baci. Teresa

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  108. I remember Jenny saying to me, "You've not met Matt yet?" with gusto and excitement, one walk to the pub on thursday pay day. I could feel a true sense of admiration for her son in law and I felt proud to have witness that. Sure enough a few days later I met you Matt, December 05; the one who made Nansi so happy. A man with intelligence, charisma and wicked sense of humour. You lived up to your reputation with great ease.

    That was December 2005. Since then I found myself witnessing the growth of two very inspirational people, a couple in love and devoted to living life to the full. Nansi I have nothing but love and admiration for you. Your strength of character is something to be desired. All my thoughts are with you, Abigail and both your families.

    Matt,
    I remember your wealth of knowledge.
    I remember you sweating as you came off stage during TPT.
    I remember laughing at the Shakespeare impro that had just been witnessed by a good few hundred children.
    I remember standing at the Globe watching A comedy of Errors with you and Nansi.
    I remember embarrassing myself losing to you in a few bouts at Fencing.
    I remember drinking in the pub afterwards with you and Nansi.
    I remember working together at Classroom.
    I remember how happy you made our Nansi.

    You will be missed by us all. Abigail will grow up knowing she had a wonderful committed father and I look forward to hearing her laugh like you. Nansi, I will be here for you in anyway I can.

    All my love,

    Lilly xxx

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  109. Matt always made quite an entrance. His toothy smile, warmth, energy and intelligence filled a room as soon as he came in. Almost invariably, that room would be Dan and Kay’s basement during a late night session of wine, beer and lively debate over everything from private schools to politics.

    It was at just such a gathering over New Year that we last saw Matt. He was laughing his mad laugh, arguing an indefensible argument and brimming with pride over baby Abigail. Like her father, she didn’t want to miss the party and stayed up most of the night, demanding cuddles.

    Those will be our enduring memories of Matt. Like anyone who makes such entrances, it is always hard when they have to make their exit.

    Mark, Clare, Lola and Seth x

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  110. I'm not that good with words, so instead I'll use The Wizard of Oz's.

    A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.

    Wow what a heart you had.

    We'll forever remember your smile and everything it stood for.

    Tas & Fi

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  111. 20 years ago Matt and I played next to each other in the Cambridge rugby club front row. Both of us were very short sighted, both had bad asthma but the scrum never went backwards -his giant frame and quiet determination being the only reason for that since I was something of a dwarf next to him.

    My abiding memory is a game in London when the opposing prop was so utterly fed up of being stuffed by Matt that he resorted to some really unacceptable abuse. It took about 10 minutes to haul the entire Cambridge team off the offender so incensed were we by the comments made. The only person not involved? Matt of course - unlike the rest of us he had the intelligence and temperament to rise above it all. He could simply shrug things off with that amazing smile.

    I was never quite sure what he made of us all - rude, misguided, the people who evolution forgot might be 3 things he would say - but I do know he had the total respect and affection of everyone he played with.

    Your passing is a tragedy, but your life was a joy. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    Ollie Joyce

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  112. What an inspirational outpouring of love and memories for you Matt and for Nansi and Abigail. A devasting and cruel loss for such a special young being who had so much still to give and to experience.

    I can't be with you in person today on your last big day but Derek, Claire, Tim and Sophie are. Derek and I met you twice - at your own wonderfully green and sunny marriage to Nansi in Crane Park and at Sari and Ken's wedding, pictured above. I loved your fabulous wedding coat of many colours - what a statement and what a dash you cut.

    Our children grew up with Nansi and the Globe Players and we know they will love and support her - always a very special friend - through the dark times ahead and up into the light.

    Nansi and Abigail - you are always always welcome to visit us in France and enjoy the simple peace, the pool and the wine at Les Rivieres. All my love and as we say in France -bon courage ma brave!

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  113. Matt, After seeing how many people valued you as a great friend, it is my loss that I didnt get more of a chance to get to know you. However you would have been so proud of your lovely wife and beautiful baby today, when we all gathered at the crematorium. They both had the biggest and bravest smiles on their faces for you. No doubt that is what you would have wanted them to do. Nice exit tune as well. We all left smiling after that! Ben O'D

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  114. Firstly i would like to say what a great and unique send off we had yeasterday just like Matt himself.
    I know people say he shouldnt have smoked but i always remember him with a roll up in his hand (or charlotte jumping on his back lol) and since my dad stopped smoking Matt was my smoking companion in the conservitry on christams day at hampton hill and all he could talk about was how amazing Abigail was and the new things he was trying out to get her to sleep at night lol, he was so proud, and he had every right to be she is an amazing, happy little thing who will be looked after by everybody espically Ellie-May who adores her.
    I will do everything in my power to look after your two girls Matt and will make sure Abigail has everything she needs.
    You will be so missed by eveybody.
    In my heart forever
    Love Sophie xxxx

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  115. We were all so moved at today's service. It was so personal, and exemplified everything we all knew and loved about Matt. Nothing can take away from the enthusiasm and energy with which he embraced life. He will be sadly missed, and he touched all of our lives in a very deep way. It was such a credit to Matt how many people came to show their love and respects today, and how many - especially Nansi and his family - who braved smiles and laughter as well. He would have loved that.

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  116. Now THAT was the way to have a funeral, Matt! My god, Nansi has a lion's heart. We're all here, inspired and honoured and humbled by your wonderful wife and child and your two huge families with all their generosity and courage. Bye bye, bye bye.

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  117. I worked with Matt at the British Museum. He was playing Omai, an 18th century South Sea Islander brought back to England by Captain Cook - his role was to encounter members of the public and engage them with tales of his homeland in rather stilted, "foreign", 18th century English. This was wonderful to witness as Matt played the part with such verve and charm, relishing the fact that the public he was engaging with were mostly foreign themselves. I was Emma Hamilton, and we had very silly battles each morning to get into our incredibly complicated costumes and wigs. He was an absolute delight to be around, and I am terribly saddened by his death.

    With my love and thoughts to Nansi and Abigail, and all his friends who must miss him such a huge amount,

    Jo Myddelton

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  118. On May 11th, 2005, thirty five years and six months to the day after I gave birth to him, I spoke with Matthew for the first time. He and I had been searching for each other many times over the years, stymied by the adoption reunion laws in California.

    My life was suddenly turned upside-down, expanded and rearranged to include Matthew's abundant personal magnetism, his love and the love of his friends and family. It was wonderful to see how we were alike as people and in what ways we resembled each other. I had some time to get to know him and had the great joy of being able to give him the love I had been storing up for him all those years. I enjoyed and savored every moment I had with him and with Nansi and Abigail.

    Matt's presence in my life was healing and produced healing in my very large and now shocked and grieving family. We were all looking forward to years of having him with us whenever we could manage time together in the US, in the UK or anywhere else we could get together. My family and I are very proud of him and showed him off to everyone when he came to visit. We have all fallen in love with Nansi as well and are terribly excited and happy to have swelled our ranks with new members, welcoming Abigail, my only grandchild, among many young cousins.

    Matthew's wonderful parents have welcomed me as part of the family. I have deep gratitude to them for having raised my only child to be such a great man who was such fun to be around. I am so glad to have them and Matthew's brother and sister as part of my life. I have also been embraced by Nansi and her family in similar fashion. Without them all my life not would hardly be bearable. They have made all the difference to me.

    Matthew has left me with much to remember, and Nansi and Abigail to laugh with and to love.

    Molly Finnegan, Mother of Matthew

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  119. As some of the lads above have said Matt was part of the 'Great '88', the Cambridge Colts who despite being a small club side managed to beat everyone in their path including teams from the premiership.

    Matt was not needed to play the part of drunken thug in the team, as we seemed to have an abundance of those, instead he provided the wit and humour, which just made it such a great team to play in. He was part of the front row union and was blessed with surprising strength for his size and a will that just refused to yield ground to the opposition. As the second row behind him this was an armchair ride.

    To this day, having played another 15 years of rugby, I have never again played in a team with such camaradarie and Matt made a big contribution to that.

    He will never be forgotten by the '88.

    Toby

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  120. Dear Matty

    i am sitting in the office at West Central looking at your photo on the wall. Don't want to take it down.

    You could always cheer people up. To be able to do that you must have had great understanding and experience of what it is to be down.

    You effortlessly accentuated the positive. Your gestures were a delight.

    Your voice still sounds in my inside ears and your face still smiles in my inside eyes.

    Everyone who met you has a Matt-shaped hole in their lives. It is not imaginable what your loss means to your family.

    Rest in peace dear Matt.

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  121. Matt, what an amazing funeral you had! It was much like you; funny, intellectual and warm. In such a short space of time your life was encapsualted with such beauty, tenderness and charm.
    Nansi you continue to amaze me, your strength, warmth and insight are true wonder. Matt would be so proud of you and Abigail and of the special day you made for him. I look forward to seeing you soon, much love to you both.
    Fran
    xxx

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  122. I was shocked when I heard this sad sad news. I was at school with Matthew in Ely, and had lost contact when we left after A-Levels. We somehow managed to get back in contact with each other on facebook, which was great. The smile on his profile photo brought back some fantastic memories and typified the man that he was. My thoughts go out to Nansi, Abigail and all his family.
    Thinking of you all at this sad time
    Alastair

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  123. What a moving and truly inspiring funeral it was for Matt. It's difficult to come up with the words - eloquence, beauty, humour and passion? All of these, and more. I didn't know Matt too well, having worked with him professionally a couple of times, but I was honoured to be there and I hope that for Nansi, Abigail, Matt's family and his many close friends, that such an inspiring and beautiful service makes the months and years ahead a little easier for you. It should: his life was there for all to see, all too clearly.
    Stuart.

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  124. What a beautiful ceremony it was, I was simultaneously laughing and crying the whole way through. Will never be able to watch Dr Who again without shedding a tear! Being able to say goodbye in such a fitting fashion makes the sadness somehow easier to bear.
    Nansi, you are so brave, your strength and courage are immeasurable. I'm so proud of you and I am sure Matt is too.
    Sari x

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  125. I first met Matt two years ago in Los Angeles with Nanci. I was immediately struck by his charisma and bright smile. Those who illuminate the world are often too bright for it; their warmth pierces the coldest hearts, lightens the cloudiest days, and puts suns in everyone's skies.

    Matt was such a man. His presence is still so strong, even in death. He will be missed.

    Much love to you Nansi and Abigail. My heart is with you, Suzanne (Baran)

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  126. Matt,

    It's very hard to believe we'll never talk again - in the West Central office, in the pub, at a Globe party. Like everyone else, I did so enjoy talking to you.

    I didn’t really get to know you well until I had a brief spell living around the corner from you and Nansi in Finsbury Park. I was a little down in the dumps at the time, and I remember how cheered up I was to find you lived so close; how lucky I was to have such casually brilliant friends.

    I remember my cat-sitting missions to your flat. How I would pluck a book from your extensive library – as eclectic and engaging as you yourself – and the ten minute wait for ‘Scat to get duffed up and chased indoors by the local feline bully would magically turn into an hour or more as I read about subjects of which I would otherwise hardly have been aware.

    I remember your stag night. Not the lairy, strippagram and traffic cone affair that phrase conjures up, but a civilised progress from pub to restaurant to bar in great company; always talking, of everything and anything until finally, in defiance of all tradition, we met up with Nansi and her ‘Hen Party’. Because, like all men of taste and discernment, you knew that mates are great, but life is always better in the company of women.

    I remember the very last time we spoke. I rang you in our agency office, the agency you introduced me to, (for which, incidentally, I don’t think I ever thanked you. Bit late now, but “thanks”.) and explained that I’d left a little early the previous day as I’d slipped and sprained my ankle. After we’d laughed at my cunning ploy of hobbling to the head of each successive traffic jam on the way home so as to minimise my taxi fare – until I was so near home that no cabby would take me seriously, you commented that I had probably not done my leg any favours and told me exactly how I should treat it. I was so looking forward to telling you that I followed your advice and that it did no good at all! That it was a good job you were a good actor because you were a rubbish doctor – and now I won’t have the chance.

    And that would be unbearably sad were it not for the fact that, though you're gone now - when you were here, you really were HERE. 100%. Life lived in the moment and to the full.

    It is given to very few to make anyone as happy as you made Nansi, or to pass life on to someone as wonderful as Abigail.

    You were a positive force in every life you touched and, though your loss is a savagely cruel blow to your loved ones, you can rest assured that they will be cared for; you will not be forgotten; your life made an immense difference.

    That's not a bad afterlife mate.


    Miles

    ps. This is about the millionth attempt to post this as my machine is on the blink - provoking torrents of invective that even you would be proud of. Seems appropriate somehow!

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  127. I remember these words from poems on the underground (which was one of their better ideas). The exclamation mark at the end is all my own work though! Added with you in mind, dear Matt, because I think of you as more vehement than wistful.

    My candle burns at both ends
    It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
    It gives a lovely light!

    Jo

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  128. I was at university in Birmingham with Matt for three years studying the same course. I saw him once after graduation when we bumped in to each other at a theatre in London.

    I am so sorry to hear of his death.

    Looking at the photos posted here I have been able to see how his life moved on. He obviously retained his passion, energy and verve. He also created a happy family life and the recent photos show a man totally in love with his wife and daughter.

    The fondest memory I will always have of Matt is when he improvised a pantomime in a class in the first term at college. It was an untamed performance and had an infectious effect on me. It made me laugh a great deal.

    I wish his family well.

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  129. I knew Matt at University, but had lost touch during the intervening years. He was a bit of a troubled soul back then, sometimes full of joy and enthusiasm, sometimes taken with a dark mood - but whatever was going on with Matt, you would know it! He was without any kind of pretension or side (which sounds wierd of an actor, but it's true), an utterly genuine bloke, with a huge laugh and the best hugs in the world if you were feeling cold or miserable. Funny, intelligent, we argued over the existence of God and enjoyed those arguments! It is wonderful to read the comments of people who have known him better in recent years, and so touching to hear of him as a truly happy husband and dad, it sounds as if the dark moods were banished. Nansi and Abigail - I have never met you, but I am so glad that not only did Matt bring joy into your lives, but that he found such joy in his relationships with the two of you. That is such a precious gift, and, in time, will be something you can cherish and hold on to. I will be thinking of you in this time of raw grief. As so many have commented, the world will be poorer, less colourful and certainly quieter without Matt. Thanks for being a great guy - you will not be forgotten.

    Sami

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  130. When I think of you Matt, I just think laughter & fun. I'm so sad I'll never see you again, I always had a top laugh in your company which was usually in the pub, the times back in Kingston Road & the trips up to Finsbury to see you & Nansi. I'll never forget the blog you wrote on your trip to the States, we always looked forward the the next episode & would crack up at your stories.
    Nansi, our thoughts & love are with you & Abigail always.

    Ozzie & Tina XXX

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  131. I was at school with Matt in the 80's.

    He was probably my first crush. I had 'Naomi 4 Matt' scribbled on all my notebooks.

    I was still a silly and painfully shy young teenager, two years below him, and being near him made me incredibly nervous. I remember him big and strong, and with resolute confidence. He was an independent soul and stood out from the crowd.

    I recently got back in touch with dear Meg and Dan after many years, and had hoped to be able to see Matt again (stupidly now, I was slow to make it happen)

    I imagined a happy reunion. A few giggles, a little embarrassment, some reconciliation.

    Most of all I was looking forward to learning about what he had done with his life.

    I've been reading with great interest all these moving messages and memories above. It's clear he lived his life to the full, was courageous and generous, made -and kept - great friends.

    And he found love, became a father. How wonderful.

    I'm so sorry for those close to him, most of all Nansi and Abigail and your families. for your terrible loss, for the irrevocable void his sudden death must have left behind.

    Your messages here are both humbling and inspiring.

    Love,
    Naomi

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  132. Nansi and Family

    Sorry i missed Matt's funeral but we sent our
    love and a gift which is with Dan and will reach you soon. Just a little practical something to help bring cheer and continue Matt's great love for life represented by Nansi and Abigail.

    I hope you do not take this the wrong way but i am little jealous that i did not come to the funeral as Corbin described it as an amazing celebration full of life, friends, love, laughter and great memories. Matt's spirit will life forever in us all.

    Seeing Corbin in 3 days and i am sure he will carry it across the world here to us in China. He has lots of nice stories to tell me about the day and seeing all of you lot above.

    Nansi you sound incredible the way you radiated
    happiness and strength to everyone on the day that is such a tribute.

    Take care and lots of love to you all

    Jason and Natasha x

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  133. Love that picture of Brazil I had forgotten about that trip and my god was it one. How could i have possibly forgotten, I know Brian and Corbin will never forget it ! Matt was great on that hols we saw flying fish together on the way back from Isla Grande on a made boat ride.........

    Jason

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  134. Dear Matt,
    I met you at university. You were a big part of my misspent youth. I have only good memories of the time I knew you. I can't believe you're gone. My heart goes out to your family.
    Lisa Clayman.

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  135. We were away when we got the devastating news of Matt's death. We never met him but have known Nansi for almost all of her life. When we saw her last (she was staying with us while working in Exeter) she was so full of joy and happiness, showing us loads of photos of Matt. This news, coming so quickly on the wonderful news of Abigail's birth, was almost incomprehensible.

    Now that we are home again, we will every Wednesday for the next four weeks, follow our Buddhist practice for the dead in Matt's name.

    Our love to Nansi, Jenny and all Matt's other dear relatives and friends.

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  136. Matt, its been a month since you died and how unreal it still seems. You were one bright big star of a man. What an impact you made on us all. Its rare that you meet someone with such generosity and such hearty vigour. Your death is a cruel cruel thing and leaves the world a blander, duller, darker, sadder place. You thought with such clarity, lived with such vitality, loved with such honesty, laughed with such enormity.We were so much looking foward to having you in Spain and hearing your laugh boom and echo around the mountains. Hopefully Nansi and Abigail will come still and we will drink to you every night under the stars.
    Dorothy (and family) I met you briefly at the funeral...what a gem of a man you raised. Our deepest thoughts and condolences. Nansi, dearest friend....with all the other hundreds who love you, any time you need a cry,chat,joke,drink,day in a spa, month in the mountains, steak, cake, dance, rant, bed, trip to the theatre, cuddle,walk in the park...I'm here.
    Abigail, you had the coolest daddy.
    Laura, Toby and Maisie.

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  137. i worked with and met Matt whilst working for gGames Workshop in London. Me, Richard and Matt. Thats how i remember those days.

    We rapidly became the best of friends and would talk all day about all kinds of things, id often pretent to keep up, understand and chip in... he knew i didnt have a clue what he was talking about half the time, but like me.. he loved to talk!!!!

    After a few weeks i invited him home, to play some games of Warhammer, my girlfriend of the time, was also impressed by his endles knowledge... and was ALWAYS happy when he showed uo for yet another game... for thos eof you that dont know.. thats NOT how its supposed to go. As the hobby takes me away from her... she didnt care... she liked him that mutch.

    he would beat the pants off me time after time after time... saying kindly.. " your army looked great tho mate"--- cue then that amazing grin. Fucker!! .hehe

    We had a saying.. "Better out than in"--- it was an in joke we carried on for years, at work, and at my place.. or at Matts, or down the pub. Never really knew what it meant, or where it camefrom,,,,but we sould say it till our throats were sore... and laugh.

    Im living in Finland now, and have doen for e few years now... it has come to be that im opening a gaming store of my own in a town called Kouvula....

    the nice thing about this store is that it has a large and as Matt would say im sure... "opulent" space for people to play the games in.

    In Matts honour, im going to erect a plaque on the wall in the space, that will simply read... " better out that in" ...i now imagine that this means - better you get involved than not.

    I think hed appreciate that.

    THANKYOU so so so so much mate for all the beatings, and that saying that will stay with me forever....

    bless you man,

    Dean.

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  138. On November 11th 2002 I first met Matt.
    It was his birthday (Also the first day of rehearsals for two plays withw the Globe players - so he had done his celebrating with Dan & Kay amongst others the night before!)
    He was fun, charming, told me about cyclids & continued to feed the company with fascinating tit-bits of knowledge throughout the tour.
    This was alongside getting to know Nansi better.
    I felt privileged to watch their love blossom & deepen.
    They moved in together, got engaged, had the most magical wedding ever & created dear little Abigail.
    Matt - I didn't necessarily meet up with you that often but thought about you & even more so now.
    There is no way that you will go unremembered & thankyou so much for the legacy that you have left behind. - In terms of Abigail that is - not in terms of the great loss that so many people have to deal with because there is no Matt any more!
    (Except there IS & always will be)
    I hope you are in a good place & my best love goes to Nansi, Dorothy, Molly, Cally, Dan & everyone who has been affected by this tragedy.
    P.S.I didn't realise quite how stunning a fencer you were 'til I saw the footage of you at The Church at you your wake. You really were a fine man who enjoyed living.
    deb xxxxxx

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  139. make sure you save this blog someone it is a work of art and a great legacy to a lovely chap that should be read for years to come.......

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  140. Dorothy Eggleton31 March 2009 at 01:04

    I have already printed it off all 70 pages of it. It gives me such comfort to hear from his friends. Dorothy (Matthew's Mum

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  141. Although I didn't know Matt on a personal level I did work with him on a couple of occassions with the New Factory. On hearing of his sudden passing it was easy to recall my memory of him to my conscious. It is the image of a warm and friendly approachable person, full of joy with a wonderful infectious smile. A New Factory Actor.

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  142. It feels almost self indulgent to say how much I miss Matt. From a purely selfish level I wish he was here raising my spirits. But my sorrow is more than that. If I had never known him, his death would be tragedy. I wish he was here. I wish I wasn't so sad. I wish it hadn't happened. My love to Nansi and Abi and to everyone that loved him.

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  143. I knew Matt as a teenager growing up in Cambridge.

    I was a couple of years younger and I remember thinking Matt was so ridiculously cool. I vividly remember a long summers night with a group of us hiding in the long grass on Lammas Land listening to his endless stories. We spent most of our time on our hands and knees in the playground trying to find Matt's stash which had fallen out of his pockets when he was jumping over the swings. I tried to pretend to look like I knew what I was looking for.

    Years later we bump into each other with Nansi in the underpass under Finsbury Park station. I was about 8 months pregnant and Nansi, I think you were a month behind me. You were on your way to your first NCT meeting. I was so happy to see you. I was so happy we were sharing the life changing experience of babies at the same time. With my pregnant dead brain I babbled away. I think I came out with some nonsensical question like didn't you become a lawyer. I walked away laughing with embarrassment thinking I'd behaved as stupidly as I did as that awe struck teenager.

    But I was so excited to think we lived so close to each other and I was really looking forward to bumping into you both again, hanging out together at the swings again but this time with our children. I know we don't know each other Nansi but if you ever need a break let me know. I can take Abigail with Reuben to the Finsbury Park swings. I just know Reuben will be completely smitten with her.

    So much love
    Kat

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  144. I think about you every day Matt. I can't believe that someone who was so full of life can possibly not be alive anymore.

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  145. Dorothy Eggleton10 May 2009 at 00:35

    Today it is three months since Matthew died and I still cannot believe I will not see him again
    Dorothy Eggleton

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  146. I know what you mean Dorothy. It's things like barbecues that we used to have around this time that really make me think of Matt. How excited we'd get, burning meat to a crisp at the bottom of the garden in a distracted kind of way and then trying to wash it down with an improvised salad and some warm beer.

    He is still very much alive in our hearts.

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  147. He is indeed. He has faded not one jot and never will.

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  148. James & Suzanne29 May 2009 at 13:39

    It's just so bloody unfair!!!!!!!!!
    jamesxxx

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  149. We have just been in France on the big family holiday we booked up well before Matt died. It was in the Loire Valley, a place Matt had said to Dorothy he wanted to go. He would have loved it. Castles, history, sun, pool, wine. We raised many a glass - in Abigail's case beaker - to Matt. We missed him every moment.

    I have just sat here with a glass of holiday wine and read this whole thing. It is truely wonderful. So many great stories, and so much love. Thank you.

    Above Abigail's bed is one of Matt's last acting headshots, and every time I go over to it it takes my breath away. He is there.

    I wish he was here.

    Abigail is doing so well, she is such a happy baby. How strange is that.

    Do please add more to this whenever you think of it - it will be read.

    By the way, I found his wedding ring - it was in his coat pocket. We should have tied it to him with string. I am pleased he had it on him all that time - even if he didn't know it.

    Nansi

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  150. Not a second goes by without me thinking of Matt. Whether in a meeting, on the bus, in a conversation, at a party, laughing, crying, helping kids with their homework, talking business, drinking, eating, joking, exercising, whatever. Every second a flash of Matt. All good.

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  151. Congratulations to Maxine and everyone else involved for organising an absolutely wonderful evening last night. The venue was incredible and the acts were brilliant. I agree with the sentiment that this should be an annual event!

    I think of Matt every single day, which in some ways I find strange as I am almost certain I didn't while he was alive. I suppose that's how it works though sometimes. I mostly remember things about Christmas Day, which is the last time I saw him, and of course the big boom of his laugh. Wherever I am at the time I always end up grinning (as I am now). His memory has brightened up many a Waterloo and City line commute.

    I miss him.

    Hope to see everyone again at Matthew Eggleton's Laugh 2010 :D

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  152. I was at Hill’s Road with Matthew. I can’t say I knew him well - we hung out in the same group, had friends in common, went to the same parties – but Matthew was such a big personality that I remember him vividly. He was always the one you could rely on to say out loud what everyone else was thinking. The best example of this was when we were on a school ski trip together in Lower Sixth. We were waiting in the airport when a flurry of activity alerted us all to the fact that some VIP had arrived. Class of 88 duly rushed to where the action was taking place and saw the Duchess of York, flanked by loads of body guards, making her way to departures. From out of the crowd came the unmistakeable sound of Matthew’s voice: ‘Oh good!’ he shouted. ‘A bit of random royalty!’ At this Fergie stopped, looked our way and said, ‘Pardon?’, at which Matthew repeated what he’d said to her face. I still love that anecdote and often tell it.

    That was 20 odd years ago. Then out of the blue we bumped into each other on my street last July. Turned out he lived round the corner. He was married and had a new baby. We chatted, swapped numbers and said we’d go for a drink. Sadly, as is the way with life, things got in the way, and the next news I had was of Matthew’s sudden death. I cannot express how sad and shocked I was. All I know is that we never did get to go for that drink...

    Emma Guest (nee Booth)

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  153. I have only just found Mathew by messing on the computer to waste a bit of time and seeing the news of his sad passing was like being hit.
    I used to look after Mathew, Jonnie and Carolyn 30 years ago, both in
    Cottenham and Millington Road. In my mind he has always stayed as the funny, cheeky, lovable little boy of nine. I remember reading endless Asterix stories to him when he was of school, he could never get anough of these or anything about the romans. Him sneaking chocolate oatie bars straight from the oven and being covered in goo!The time he did an experiment in the bathroom that meant he blocked all the oerflow holes and nearly flooded the house, the first I knew was when water started to cascade down the stairs! He and his friend hid under the kitchen table. The card tricks, and others that he was always working on.Just before I left the family to have a baby of my own I took the children to the pantomime at the arts theatre and Iremember Jonnie being scared but Mathew was entranced, especialy when the dame came into our box, he played demons, trying to frighten Jonnie again, for ages after. What else could he have become but an actor? H spent all his time and energy entertaining everyone. My heart goes out to all his family especialy his beautiful little girl, but if she grows up in his image she wont go far wrong.Look after each other. Julia

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  154. One of the good things about the blog is that people like Julia appear from the past and remind us of other things about Matthew. he is such a loss to us all
    Dorothy

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  155. It's not a memory, but I went to a memorial service last week for a 97 year old who was, amongst other things, a poet. One of her poems was read out and I thought I'd share it ...

    A Footprint on the Air by Naomi Lewis

    "Stay!" said the child. The bird said, "No",
    My wing has mended, I must go,
    I shall come back to see you though,
    One night, one day -"
    How shall I know?"
    "Look for my footprint in the snow."

    "The snow soon goes - oh, that's not fair!"
    "Don't grieve. Don't grieve, I shall be there
    In the bright season of the year,
    One night, one day -"
    "But tell me, where?"
    "Look for my footprints on the air."

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  156. Thanks for that Jo. It is lovely
    Dorothy

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  157. I heard today the terrible news that Matt died in Feb. I went to the Courtyard in the 90's, a year above Matt. What a guy! I hadn't seen Matt since I left college but often wondered how he was, what he was up to. What I see when I think of Matt is his smile & what I hear is his laugh. A funny, talented & clever, clever man. A warm, kind man who has touched so many people's lives. So sad that he has gone.
    Annie Roper

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  158. Cripes. It's getting near your birthday. Was thinking about making red sauce in your honour and then it struck me (again) how much I miss you. It's going to be a difficult week. Much love.

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  159. It is Matthew's birthday today. he would have been thirty-nine. When the children were young we used to go out for birthday treats, either to Sweeney Todd's, the pizza restaurant at the river or to the Fondue plavce on Castle Hill. Once Matthew started working in Sweeney Todd's, we never went again and both restaurants are long gone.
    Dorothy

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  160. Matt when the snow came all I could see was that photo of you with Abigail tucked in your coat. I held my own little boy much tighter in case something ever separates us as it has you three. Nansi and Dorothy, much love to you both from Jo.

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  161. I can't quite believe we have made it into a new year without Matt.

    I really miss him.

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  162. Miss you, buddy. You would've been great in a mid-life crisis.

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  163. A year has gone by and losing you has not got any better Mum

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  164. Dear Matt - A year ago you were showing Abigail the joys of snow & relishing it. She has seen much more snow this year but no you, neither have the steadfast Nansi or Dorothy - & of course many others. Best love & thoughts deb X

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  165. A whole year without Matt. On this day in 2009 we had no idea what was about to happen, and I guess I am more glad about that than sorry. Glad for Matt, who would have been broken-hearted to know that he was leaving his beautiful girls. They have both done him proud this terrible year, they really have.

    Carolyn

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  166. Mathew lived for those he loved and today those he loved will remenber.Thinking of you,esecially Nansi,Abigail,Dorothy and the family.
    Jean Bowskill

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  167. Nansi, Abigail, Dorothy and everyone who loved Matt, I am sending you all my love on what must be the most dreadful and sad day. I have thought about Matt most days since this time last year despite not having seen him really since University days and can't imagine how you must all be feeling. Still can't believe how cruel life can be. Jo

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  168. Matt i cant put into words how much you have been missed in the last year. Your baby girl has turned into a little girl who is amazing and is a great pleasure to be with shes such a happy thing which is abit ironic but what a credit she is to all of us. I can see you now standing in the doorway of the front room at hampton hill with that huge smile on your face as if to say thats my girl.
    Christmas wasnt the same this year i didnt even get the comfort of the conservitry i was put out into the cold to have a fag lol.
    We had alot of snow this year and all i could picture was that picture of you and Abigail i took her for a walk in it and she slipped a few times but she just got up and we laughed about it.
    Its so unfair that your not hear with us all and to see your amazing daughter grow.
    Your always in our hearts.
    All our Love
    Sophie and Abigails right hand girl Ellie-May xx

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  169. I don't know what to write really. I feel so so sad today.

    All the memories and feelings shared on this blog are testament to what a truly incredible man Matt was. What a beautiful legacy he has left behind, best of all the absolute delight that is Abigail. Her looks, her speech, her laughter and her personality are all a glorious combination of Nans and Matt. It's quite extraordinary. To say he would have been over the moon with her falls so far short of the mark. She is a credit to Nansi's bravery and to the support of everyone who has helped our family over this last year.

    Matt we'll never get over losing you but boy do you live on.

    With all my love to Nansi, Abigail, Dorothy, Cally, Jonny, Molly, Dan and everyone else who misses their Matt

    xxx

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  170. Tried to post on here yesterday but couldn't write anything that seemed right. Just want to say that Matt is still very much in our thoughts, his memory hasn't faded, I really can't believe a year has passed.
    Abigail is truly a delight. Every time I see her I hope that our little boy Hugh will be as charming and entertaining as she is when he reaches that stage. I am so sad that he didn't get to meet you Matt. Your memory lives on.

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  171. Thinking of you Matt. We miss you.
    With love and thoughts to you Nansi and Abigail and all your family.
    Lilly xxx

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  172. I have so many memories that flash into my head all the time. One that has kept coming over the past year is from just before he died. I think it was that very morning, maybe the day before. I was sitting on the sofa and Abigail was on the floor. Matt pointed one finger at me, and one at Abigail, wiggled them both and said slightly manically "I love you". That is what I am thinking about today.

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  173. Just been to visit your bench, with your beautiful happy clever little daughter, and your gorgeous and awe-inspiring wife. Miss you terribly. Just seen the last message from Nansi and it literally breaks my heart. I dont understand how life could be so unfair.
    I hope you know how loved you were Matty xx

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  174. Thanks Harry for saying that. I do not think we shall ever get over losing Matthew. Abigail is a real charmer and she is starting to have Matthew's mannerisms such as chewing her tongue when concentrating. It was quite spooky the other day when Nansi told me that Abigail was fascinated by her shadow as Matthew was just the same when he was small.
    I am only hoping she does not inherit his laugh! Dorothy

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  175. I just posted the text of the speech I made in the comments section below the picture of the bench above this lot of comments.

    It was really just a summary of all of the things that others had said about Matt prior to the funeral, and I thought it would be nice to remember some of them.

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  176. We've been listening to a Tom Lehrer CD lately and it's so funny... Whenever he sings "Smut" and gets to the line

    I could tell you things about Peter Pan
    and the Wizard of Oz - there's a dirty old man


    I can hear Matt roaring with laughter and it makes me laugh too. At least I think that's what the tears are for.

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  177. ...the trouble with the iPhone is that having caught up on this blog on the loo at work, I now have to hide here in the loo until my eyes look normal again....

    pad x

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  178. Wish you could come to my party. Won't be quite the same without you, but I know you'll be there in spirit!
    jamesxx

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  179. Matt and I were friends for a short while when we were at Drama School together. I have just heard of his passing from an old friend. Completely shell shocked. Lots of memories just flooding back of a time when I drove him and 3 others to Cornwall for a mad weekend.
    Always had a wonderful smile
    regards
    Terry Clay

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  180. I knew Eggy from Hills Road Sixth Form College. If I remember correctly, he played Caliban in our school production of the Tempest back in 1987-88 and in the one piece of piece of acting I've ever done seriously, I played Prospero (with, undoubtedly, an overly serious and self-important tone)... Matt's talent as a spectacular comic actor was shining forth even then and he had us laughing absolutely all the time. He was immensely popular with everyone and I deeply regret not being in touch with him more recently. He carried a brilliant sense of lightness and humor that I have don't think I have seen since.

    My strongest memory of him was going to see 'The Princess Bride' at the old Arts theatre in Rose Crescent in Cambridge (this would have been around 1987) . We went to see it at Matinee time and the theatre was full of young kids, 10-14 years old and I just remember roaring with laughter at all the really classic slightly more adult lines: "Sleep and dream of large women".

    I was, like him, a fencer, and I also remember training with him as kids at training camps around Cambridge. I can't say we were particularly good friends but I certainly liked and admired him enormously.

    I am very very sorry to hear of his passing. With this knowledge, the world is suddenly a more somber, sadder place.

    Gully Burns
    Project Leader
    Biomedical Knowledge Engineering Group
    Information Sciences Institute
    Marina del Rey, California

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  181. I love to hear the stories of Matthew's life from his friends. Abigail is two this week and I felt sorry that her Dad was not there to see how much she has grown and developed. Her speech is very advanced and she is developing a great sense of humour. She also has quite a distinctive laugh - I wonder where that came from. Nansi has done so well bringing her up on her. Matt and Nansi's friends have been so supportive too.
    Dorothy

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  182. I posted a few days ago that Matt played Caliban in our school production of the Tempest... No, I was wrong. An old friend from school corrected my error: Instead of playing the misshapen vengeful monster, he played Trinculo, the jester. Laughter and love over bitterness and ugliness.

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  183. I'm thinking today about Matt and Nansi's Anniversary, and just how proud Matt would be of his wonderful wife and daughter. Still unreal. Still unfair. Still miss you.

    Kate

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  184. I've just renewed our travel blog from our trip in 2007. Didn't know I still could, but it is nice to see it again. I thought people might fancy a look sometime. Can't quite bring myself to read it at this moment, but I am sure I will soon.
    I'm glad you are still thinking of Matt.
    Nansi xx

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  185. Oh I meant to say, if you'd like to see it look at: http://www.GetJealous.com/nansimatt

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  186. Today is Matthew's birthday. He would have been forty. Nansi tells me that Abigail is asking about her Daddy. She is delightful and Matthew would have adored her. How sad it is that we must all do without him. Dorothy

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  187. Happy birthday old boy - off to the Faltering Fall Back for a scruffy pint in your honor.

    Feel sad.

    Kay & Dan xxx

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  188. 2010 is almost over and Matt wasn't there for any of it. That is so strange. Who would have thought we'd get here? I look at pictures of Abigail with Matt and she is a tiny baby with a little bit of straight hair - she shows how much time has passed. But it is so easy to conjure him up still, I can picture him as if he has just left the room.

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  189. I find that I miss Matt at the oddest of times. I was sitting in the car outside the theatre in Oxford on Friday. I once picked him and Nansi up from there when Nansi was in a play and they were coming to stay. On Friday I had such a strong sense of him - I could almost see him there. What's weird for me is that because I didn't see him all that often in the latter years, I seem to miss him more now than when he first left us. x

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  190. Happy Birthday Matt i hope wherever you are your having a large drink because il be raising a glass for you this evening.
    Always in my heart all my love Sophie xxx

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  191. I find myself thinking of Matt more and more as the years go by. That might seem strange as I hadn't seen him for years before he passed away.I think it's because he was part of the mish mash of hugely happy memories of Birmingham and so part of one of the best and most interesting times of my life. I'll be thinking of him and everyone whose lives he had such a big impact on tomorrow... My husband's birthday so never an anniversary I'll forget.

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  192. Thinking of you Matt. I wish we were all kicking around Finsbury Park with our kids together. I can see you rolling a cheeky roll-up as if you were here with me now. Really looking forward to having the chance to shout at the Fates with Nansi and Abigail on Sunday. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Kay

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  193. I don't know what to write except I am thinking of you all.

    I'm sad.

    I am now smiling remembering the drinking sessions I had with you and Nansi after Monday night Fencing. You were really quick and hard to beat!

    I miss those evenings.

    Keep going. Your daughter and wife are incredible, but you knew that more than anyone. You are sorely missed.

    Lilly

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  194. Dear Nansi and family,

    I was with Matt at the King's School Ely for many many years. He was one of my best friends, co-conspirators and closest brothers. We took the Cambridge-Ely train together every day of our lives - morning and evening- - spent countless hours and did countless things together from very nerdy (!) to very active and sporty- I used to come round to Millington road a lot. Many many memories. I mostly lost touch after he went to Hills, but did speak with him by phone in 97 after a mutual school friend bumped into him.

    "Verily we come from God and unto Him we must return."

    I will miss him, he was a very good, sensitive, intelligent, sincere and special soul.

    My deepest condolences and prayers to all of you,
    x Mustafa Gouverneur

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  195. It was good to hear from you, Mustafa. I enjoyed those days in Millington Road when the house was full of young people. I live in Dundee now and Carolyn and Jonny live there too. Nansi and Abigail live in London. Abigail has just started school and it is a shame Matthew is not here to see his daughter blossom. She looks like him and chews her tongue when she is concentrating just as Matthew did.

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  196. Thank you kindly for the update Dorothy. Maybe one time I could visit Nansi and have a cup of tea? What is her email address? Thanks and God bless, Mustafa

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  197. I've just read this whole thing again, as I have many times over the past 4 years - god, it is nearly 4 years! What a wonderful thing to have, how lucky to have all these stories, thoughts and feelings written down. I am looking forward to sharing it all with Abigail one day.

    I think of Matt every day, many times a day, but I think perhaps the snow today has sent me back to that terrible time. Things are easier now, better, we are okay, but I still miss Matt more than I can say, and I miss the life we should have had, but that we lost that day in 2009.

    I have cooked his curry recipe once, for some friends - it took ages!

    As another anniversary approaches I am amazed again that we have got here. I am older than him now, how strange.

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  198. Five years on now.

    I have written a sonnet:


    I don’t feel you at the bench that bears your name.
    That powder that we scattered wasn’t you.
    You don’t send me signs, and I don’t claim
    You visit me, or watch over all I do.
    Our daughter sees her ‘Daddy Star’ at night,
    But I know it’s just a lump of rock in space.
    I’ve hunted for your spirit, soul, your light,
    And find that you are gone without a trace.
    But now your eyes look up and into mine,
    I have your incarnation by my side.
    It’s in our child I see your spirit shine,
    And I can feel you share with me the pride.
    And she has lungs that work and eyes that see,
    So long she’ll live, and she gives life to thee.

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    Replies
    1. Nansi that's just beautiful x

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