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News Archive > General > Matt´s honour for funding drive

Matt´s honour for funding drive

By Warren Wilkins 25th October 2017

Matt´s honour for funding drive
Matt Way (second left) with his award.

A Newquay dad who launched a fundraising campaign in memory of his inspirational son has been commended with a prestigious award.

Matt Way has been named as the South West winner of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, which aim to celebrate unsung heroes.

Matt and his wife Claire will now head to a star-studded ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Monday, October 30, along with the winners from ITV’s other regions where the overall winner will be announced.

Matt was surprised by ITV reporter Claire Manning with the South West award at Ben Skinner’s surfboard factory on Friday. Ben had set up a team photo to ensure Matt was at the right place at the right time.

Matt has been recognised after launching the Joe Way Appeal following the death of his son aged four in 2008. He did not want Joe’s legacy to be forgotten as he had touched many people’s lives in his battle against a rare genetic condition.

Matt’s fundraising, with the support of his family, has so far raised £148,00, which has benefited more than 20 charities – in particular Children’s Hospice South West’s appeal to open the Little Harbour Children’s Hospice in St Austell.  

The main fundraiser is the annual Joe Way Paddle for Life at the harbour, which sees people of various ages take part in paddle races to raise money.

Matt said: “I’m just feeling really humble. It was a complete surprise and, after 10 years of doing this to raise money for other people and to raise awareness about Joe’s story, it was a pleasant surprise.

“It’s really exciting and it’s a great opportunity to showcase the amazing way that people have supported us in Cornwall, and particularly the people of Newquay and the surfing community.

“It’s an amazing town and there’s some amazing people who live here and I think it’s great for everyone to have some recognition for everything they have done to celebrate Joe’s life and be part of his story, even though he’s not here anymore. As a family, we are really proud of that and will always be grateful for the Fistral RNLI beach lifeguards, in particular Chris Zinon, who came up with the idea in 2008. It was such a massive loss when Joe died that we had to do something to fill that void.

“This has been amazing experience and a real credit to Joe’s legacy.  

“We have always told Joe’s story to inspire people as he had battled off 10 superbugs and put up such a great fight, which he always did with a smile. We just wanted to celebrate the positive way he dealt with everything.

“When he died in our arms there wasn’t a children’s hospice available for people living in Cornwall so that was a really important part of our journey, to support the hospice and make sure it was built. Which it was and it is doing an amazing job to help families that are unfortunately in the same position that we were.”

The three other nominees in the South West Pride of Britain were mum-of-three Hayley Gwilliams who set up the charity ‘Footsteps for Freddie’ last year. It helps acquire equipment for children with various conditions that prevent them from walking.

Table tennis coach Liz May was also nominated after organising #PinkPong, which aims to raise awareness of cancer, as well as Justeen Easton from North Devon who set up the charity Everything Ellie two years ago following the death of her teenage daughter Ellie.

By Warren Wilkins 25th October 2017

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