A Letter from Leigh

Matt Stanley was tragically taken out of our lives in September last year, at the young age of 15. His death will continue to affect the people that knew and loved him for many more years to come.

However we would like to make sure that his death is not in vain.

I would firstly like to give all of you some idea of the kind of person Matt Stanley was. Many of you have probably heard of Matt Stanley but only recognise him as “The boy who was killed at that party.”

I would like for all of you to realise that he is more than just a statistic. He meant so much to so many people and this is why his death was such a tragedy.

There was never a dull moment when you were around Matt. He was one of the few people I know that was capable of cheering people up no matter what had happened to them. It was impossible to be miserable around Matt because he was never miserable. He was always happy and upbeat. You always had the feeling when you were around Matt that he just enjoyed life. He was a great person to be around.

As you would have heard Matt was a very talented sportsman. I was fortunate enough to play touch football with Matt for many years and I was a witness to some of the remarkable things he did on the touch field. I believe that the reason he was so good was because he was always trying new things and making things up off the top of his head. Every Friday and then eventually Wednesday night Matt would come to us with a new move or new step that he had made up. He firmly believed that they would always work, but to us they always seemed crazy. But sure enough when he did them they worked. The last game of touch that Matt ever played was on the Wednesday night in the same week as he was killed. Matt went out a legend that’s for sure. We were losing 4 – 3 with about 5 minutes to go when Matt got the ball on one wing. As soon as he got the ball he did what most 8 year old kids would do in a game and took off sideways. It is fairly safe to say that everyone on the field including the opposition were wondering what he was doing. However it seemed Matt had a plan although he had only succeeded in losing us metres as he raced towards the other sideline. To everyone’s surprise Matt eventually dived over in the comer on the opposite wing to where he got the ball. We shouldn’t have really been surprised though because that is just the way Matt did things. He was always ready to try something new and he just acted off the top of his head without putting any major amount of thought into the things he was doing. The thing is that they always worked for him. That is why he was so awesome to be around. You never really knew what you would get when you were with Matt. It was certainly entertaining.

This is a guy who is now dead. After bringing so much joy to the people that knew him, he was taken away from us without the opportunity to live his life to the full potential that he had. Nearly 1000 people were at his funeral. This is a fair indication of how many people were grieving over his death.

The sad and depressing thing is that Matt’s death could have easily been avoided. It was a totally unnecessary act of violence that ended Matt’s life prematurely. Matt went to this particular party with the best intentions. He just wanted to have a good time. Unfortunately this party got out of hand. Matt ended up isolated with a group of other guys that for whatever reason wanted to fight him. Although Matt didn’t want a fight he wound up dead.

That is all it took. Two minutes of senseless violence.