Lance Bombadier Matt Hatton
40 Royal Artillery
(The Lowland Gunners)
Our precious son, Lance Bombardier Matt Hatton (40 Regiment Royal Artillery) was tragically killed in a double explosion whilst on foot patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan on 13th August 2009, aged 23 years.
Matt, or “Hatts” as he was fondly known by his comrades, started his career at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate at the age of 16 and went on to spend the next 7 years fully engrossed in Army life. Matt had boundless energy and thrived on setting himself new challenges. He was always the first to volunteer to learn new skills whenever the opportunity presented itself. Matt served in Cyprus, Iraq and finally in Afghanistan, where he always strived to do his very best and push his boundaries to be able to fulfil his role in the Army to the best of his ability.
The life of a soldier perfectly suited Matt’s personality and his love of the outdoors and adventure. He had a heart of gold and had the enviable ability to make friends easily. He was always full of fun and was cheerful even when faced with adversity. His sense of humour and mischievous smile followed him wherever he went and lifted the spirits of those around him.
We are so very proud of our brave and courageous son and felt that we wanted to do something in his memory that would have made him proud of us too. As a family we decided that, in order to push our own boundaries, we needed to take on an extreme challenge in his honour. So we enrolled for the Help for Heroes challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in March 2010. “Team Hatton” comprised of myself and Phil, our daughters Becky and Vicky, Warren (Vicky’s partner), Sarah (Matt’s cousin) and her partner Charlie, as well as one of Matt’s close friends, also called Matt.
As part of our commitment to Help for Heroes we needed to raise £3,400 each in sponsorship for the Charity in order to do the climb. Fundraising quickly became a key focus in the months following Matt’s death, as we only had a limited amount of time to raise the money to reach each of our targets. However, we needn’t have worried. Once people knew about the challenge we were undertaking for Matt we were immediately swamped with donations from well-wishers. We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support we have received, not just from our immediate family and friends, but from our neighbours, work colleagues and Matt’s friends and comrades, all of whom wanted to try and do something to support us whilst at the same time raising money to help injured soldiers.
Many people helped not simply by handing over a cheque, but by participating in a whole range of charity fundraising events. These ranged from a charity auction, a number of pub quizzes, a cocktail evening, a charity games evening, an assault course, coffee afternoons, cake stalls, Xmas fair stalls, a bonfire party, band nights, sponsored runs, a bikeathon, a sponsored climb and many more. Matt would have been absolutely amazed, not only by the amount of fundraising events in his name, but the sheer range of them too! To date we have raised in excess of £60,000 which far exceeds the amount needed for the Team Hatton target.