Matt Pinnock or #Butters as some of you may know him, was a 22 year old student who was diagnosed with a brain tumour almost exactly a year ago. Unfortunately on December 15 Matt passed away. This came to a shock to me and many around him. Doctors only gave Matt days to live last spring, but he wasn’t one to back down and managed to battle against the tumour for over half a year. I have been racking my brains for weeks on what I should write here. How do I sum up what kind of guy Matt was in a few hundred words, especially when there is so much to say?
When the team found out about his condition we were preparing to visit him in hospital but he told us not to, he said we should be in the library revising as we all have exams. I think that says it all really. Matt wasn’t one to ever feel sorry for himself; he was selfless and he always put others before him no matter what. He showed this on the football pitch as well where he played for the 4th team last year until his illness prevented him. He gave everything for the team; he didn’t care about his own playing time he did everything for the team, even if he did pick up a few yellow cards on the way. This is how I know Matt, I was the manager of the 4th team last year.
I first met Matt at pre season, instantly he amused me with his enthusiasm, joyous attitude and by his own self admission a lack of match fitness. You couldn’t help but smile when he was around, it was infectious and always lifted the players after a down day. After preseason it was obvious that Matt was an outstanding candidate for the Vice Captaincy and carried his role out with due diligence. Matt was one of the most positive people I ever met, he always made everyone around him laugh and was a massive part of the team. He was instrumental in us ending the season with a best ever finish of third. After the season we held a charity football match where his old teammates from previous years at Loughborough came back to play (see above), we raised a lot of money that day for the Cynthia Spencer Hospice who had been great to Matt. The fact that all his teammates turned up, while being scattered all around the country is a testament to the impact he made on people’s lives. I only wish he could have been out there with us. Matt’s parents were in attendance that day and thanked us all for what we had done, but there was no need to thank anyone. We were all there for Matt.
It’s hard not to take something positive from his story of determination and resilience, to battle for that long against all the odds made me, and all that knew him, supremely proud. I am proud to have known someone who should prove such an inspiration. I certainly see myself looking at life in a different light. I just hope I can be more like Matt; I want to enjoy every minute like he did and be as strong as him. I found myself thinking on the morning I found out about Matt how I should react; I was shocked, for some reason I felt like he was going to live for the next hundred years, he was just such a strong character who simply did not deserve to leave us this early. It is a testament to him that I had to stop writing this article more than once. However Matt wouldn’t want anyone to be upset, he is the type of guy who would want a minute’s applause instead of a minute of silence. He would want us to celebrate his life and remember the good times we all had with him rather than mourn for him.
So finally, what is the point of this article? Well the reason I wanted to write it was in hope others could take some solace from this story. Live life and enjoy it, as it is too short not to.
Our Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Matt