LOVED LIFE: Goulburn man, Matthew Pugh, 30, was holidaying in the Greek Islands when he lost his life following a fall from a balcony. This photo was taken the day before the June 13 accident. CHEEKY GRIN: Matthew Pugh’s characteristic smile lit up a room, said his family.
TO his parents he was the perfect son; to his three sisters he was a loving and supportive brother; and to his mates he was a constant source of inspiration and fun.
Matthew Pugh lived his life to the fullest. He worked hard, studied hard and partied hard. His motto was simple: You should reward yourself on the weekend.
He was a jetsetter and by age 30 had seen more of the world than most people ever will, travelling to South East Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand and the Caribbean.
However, his life was cut short 12 days ago after an accident in the Greek Isles. Matt was holidaying with some close friends when he fell from the first floor balcony of his Santorini apartment.
His tragic passing has left the local community in a state of grief but, in a strange way, also brought it closer together. A grass roots social media campaign has raised more than $40,000 for the family to help with funeral and other costs.
Matt’s family say they’ve been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received. When news of his death was posted on social networking site, Facebook, there was an outpouring of tributes.
The fundraising started as an effort to bring home one of Matt’s best friends, Robbie Allen, now living in Canada. Robbie wanted to come home for the funeral but didn’t have enough money for the airfare.
So, two of his other friends, Duncan Matthews and Heath Dennelly, started a Facebook group, asking people to donate what they could to help purchase the tickets. The response was overwhelming.
Within 24 hours they had well and truly surpassed the amount needed and the boys began raising money for Matt’s family, to help cover funeral costs Today, the group has more than 5000 members and has raised over $40,000.
“We want to thank everyone who has shown their support. We truly appreciate it,” his mother, Elaine, said.
The family has been put under immense stress in the past few days. Not only have they had to deal with the loss of their son but also the bureaucratic process to bring him home. However, community support has helped them through.
Matt’s sister, Donna, said the financial support was testament to the love for her brother. It was not only locals who donated but also former workmates, friends from around the world and even complete strangers, who have been touched by his story.
“He loved to be around everyone,” she said.
“My other sister (Jodie) used to say that when you spoke to him you felt like you were the most important person in the world, and it’s true – that’s the way he was. He had a strong presence and he was very close to his friends.”
Matt was always genuine and had a cheeky grin that could light up a room. He was the baby of the family, his sisters reckon the favourite, and his mother said he never gave them a moment’s grief growing up.
He loved sports. He tried his hand at just about all of them but hockey was the one that stuck, playing for the Fireflies for more than a decade.
Matt was extremely intelligent. After graduating from Goulburn High he was accepted to study at the Australian National University. However, the allure of travel and an adventure with his mates saw him defer for a year.
In 2004, he completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Wollongong and soon began working for an international accounting firm, Ernst and Young. He worked in the Cayman Islands for 18 months.
In 2011, he moved to London and became an auditor for BSI Group.
Matt is survived by his parents Elaine and John, his sisters Donna, Jodie and Caressa, his grandmother Elaine Jones, and the “Rug Rats” (his nickname for his nieces, nephews and extended family).
A celebration of his life will be held at St Saviour’s Cathedral at 1pm on Thursday.
If you wish to pass on any messages regarding Matt, feel free to use the comments system below.
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