Matt was born in Portsmouth on 29th September 1989 and grew up in Gosport, Hampshire, I served as a marine engineer in the Royal Navy during his youth so he was always surrounded by sailors, ships, the sea and engineering. He went to Brune Park School in Gosport but wasn’t a studious type of boy however his natural ability always got him to be above average results meaning he gained decent grades at high school and then at 17 he passed the entrance exam for engineering apprenticeships in Portsmouth dockyard. He was a good performing apprentice and enjoyed the maritime college classroom days as well as the practical engineering that working on warships offered.
Matt decided to leave the UK when he was 21 as he felt that the wider world had more to offer him, he had been on vacation to Florida in his teens and whilst there we visited an ex-navy friend of mine who had settled in Fort Lauderdale and whose wife owns and runs a yacht crewing business, they told him then that if he ever fancied trying a life in yachting then he should consider moving out to live with them for a while and they could help him on his way into a working life on super yachts. When I reminded Matt of this in 2011 he was keen to explore the idea, he went to the Isle of Wight to do some sea safety training and was on a plane to the USA in late 2011, it didn’t take long before he found day work and eventually secured a full time role on Silver Cloud.
After a succesful couple of years on a super yacht called Silver Cloud he moved around a few boats expanding his experience but a chance meeting with the Silver Cloud in the Caribbean led to him rejoining as he always felt that he belonged on her more than any other yacht, he and the senior crew had remained on good terms.
He worked his way up quickly after rejoining from deckhand to 2nd engineer and finally to engineer in 2017, he and all of us were so proud and he was beaming when he called to tell us, it felt like he had made it to his destiny after leaving England 6 years earlier. Matt recently came back to the UK to participate in a gathering of family in London and he was so full of joy about his achievements and the yacht’s upcoming planned trip to Greenland and maybe even a chance to transit the northwest passage on Silver Cloud. It was clear to me that Matt was going to be a career ‘yachty’, he lived for a life at sea, he loved his job and was a proud crew member for a yacht and owner whom he thought were the best in the business.
With regards to the incident that led to his death, it is no secret that Matt had a strong liking for a party and loved to socialise, he worked hard and played hard, what we know is that his last Friday night out was having drinks and socialising with friends but the doctors were clear that there was not a life threatening level of alcohol in his system when he was brought in, they could only state that his heart stopped and his brain was starved of oxygen for too long before paramedics reached him, despite getting him back to the hospital as soon as they could they could not save his brain function.
Matt’s mother Sam was informed by telephone by the yacht soon after he was taken to the ICU and she and Matt’s sister Maisie (23) arrived from the UK within a day, I arrived from my home in Dubai 2 days later due to having to wait for a visa to enter the USA. After taking advice from the medical team at St Mary’s medical centre that afternoon we decided that we should allow them to switch off the life support machine and Matt passed away at 5.07pm on 6th June.
Matt was a healthy 27 year old man in the prime of life and we are devastated to have lost him, there is no medical evidence at this stage to show what caused his cardiac arrest and we remain distraught that we lost him so young when he had such a bright future ahead if him. Matt’s body arrived in the UK in late June and we staged a celebration of his life that was attended by more than 250 people, he was laid to rest in Gosport in a small family ceremony on 6th July.