17 April 2011

300 unite to farewell mate | Ipswich News | Local News in Ipswich | Ipswich Queensland Times

FRIENDS and family bid an emotional farewell to their blue-eyed, fun loving and sometimes mischievous mate yesterday.

The parents of Matthew Prior leave Centenary Memorial Gardens Chapel after the funeral of their teenage son who died in a crash last Friday.

FRIENDS and family bid an emotional farewell to their blue-eyed, fun loving and sometimes mischievous mate yesterday.

More than 300 people crowded the crematorium chapel at Centenary Memorial Gardens, to reflect on the life of Matthew Prior.

Matthew, 18, was one of three teenage friends killed when their vehicle collided with a ute at Goodna last week.

His sudden death has clearly left a gaping hole in the lives of many – with several of his friends taking the opportunity to speak about his antics while out driving in the car, “going down to Maccas” or just talking on the phone.

Some arrived with the words “RIP” written on their vehicles, while others allowed blue balloons to fly out the windows.

Matthew’s pride and joy – his bright yellow Mazda 3 hatchback and his recently acquired 1970 Volkswagen Beetle – were appropriately parked out the front of the chapel.

Funeral celebrant Ron Oostenbroek encouraged Matty’s loved ones to think about the good times.

“Matty has not stopped bringing smiles to your faces – don’t think he has – he hasn’t,” Mr Oostenbroek said.

“He was one of a kind – there was truly nobody else like him.”

Matty’s father Frank spoke of his son’s passion for motor cars, which started from an early age.

“Pretty soon came the cars – he had so many they blocked the yard,” Mr Prior said as he fought back tears.

“He would park everywhere I wanted to.”

Despite his love of cars, Matty followed one of his other loves and tried to be a chef when he left school.

But as his father explained, the job stopped him from enjoying the most important part of his life – his friends – and he soon took a job as an apprentice mechanic.

“Matty would have been so impressed to see how many people turned up today,” Mr Prior said.

Waves of friends approached the microphone to speak about the memories of Matty, including friend of 13 years, Tamika Weller.

“He touched the hearts of many,” she said.

“He wanted nothing more than to live life. He loved everyone who is here today. We’ll never forget you Matthew.”

Childhood friend Brittnay Robinson said Matty was her “primary school crush.”

“There’s too much to say about him – he had a smile that would light up your world and the nicest eyes,” Ms Robinson said.

“He was a good kid – loved by everyone.”

Matthew’s older brother Andrew released a bunch of blue balloons following the ceremony.

His friends drove in a convoy around Ipswich last night in his honour.

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