Redcar man raises more than £50,000 in memory of brother who died nearly 15 years ago

THE brother of a teenager who sadly died in a motorcycle crash nearly 15 years ago has raised more than £50,000 for charity in his memory.

Matthew Heath, 18, from Marske, was driving along the B1269 road, travelling between Dunsdale and Guisborough in July 2008 when the Aprilia motorbike he was riding collided with a Land Rover Freelander.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew to the scene but unfortunately Matthew died from his injuries.

Matthew’s brother Tom Heath, 35, from Redcar, began fundraising in his memory to support GNAAS and has organised several events over the years.

He said: “I’ve supported GNAAS for 15 years following the death of Matty because they had landed for my brother to help him and if they could have done anything to save him then they would have.

“Sadly he had already passed and there was nothing anyone could have done, so I started fundraising in his memory to help save lives and stop other families going through what we have in losing our Matty, whilst keeping his memory very much alive.

“It also gave me something to focus on during the hardest times of my life and try to make something good out of losing someone so close to us.”

Tom has organised several football tournaments and 11-a-side games, music events with help from his friend Daniel Wilkinson, horse race nights, family fun days, raffles, Boxing Day Dips, and some of his friends have run half marathons.

Speaking about Matthew, Tom said: “He was a kind and happy young man, always smiling, he had a love for motorbikes and watching the Moto GP following Valentino Rossi 46. He actually went to Valencia to watch his idol for his 18th birthday.

“He was an excellent archer and went to shoot competitions with our dad David.

“He also loved fishing, football, socialising with his friends and he was a big family man just like myself.

“He was so proud when we had our first son Joseph and he became an uncle for the first time but it certainly breaks my heart that he only had a month with Joe and sadly never met our Jacob”.

In nearly 15 years Tom and his friends and family have raised £53,882.43 in memory of his brother.

Following his latest fundraiser, which was the Boxing Day Dip, Tom, his wife Nicola, and their children Joseph and Jacob visited GNAAS’ base near Eaglescliffe.

He said: “I honestly never thought I’d raise so much but I was always determined to fundraise every year in his memory.

“The new base for GNAAS is wonderful and it’s so good to see how far the service has come since I started fundraising 15 years ago.

“It was a pleasure to be invited up to see the new place and meet some more of the fantastic team involved in it all.

“It was the fourth time I’d been invited up to see GNAAS and the first at the new base so we really loved it and the boys loved sitting in the helicopter again.

“It’s always emotional when we come up to visit as we do talk a lot about Matty and it does bring back a lot of memories but it’s also a feeling of proudness that I’ve done all this in his memory and that he would be proud of me for doing so.”

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