Supporters of Hartpury University RFC might be familiar with the story of Matt Ratana.
Matt, a serving police officer, was shot dead in the line of duty on Friday, September 25th, this year. Matt was also the Head Coach of East Grinstead Rugby Football Club and, since his death, a picture has emerged of a man who was not only committed to the sport, but also hugely inclusive, influential and popular amongst all who came to know him personally.
Today sees the launch of The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation, which has the aim of raising funds to support a number of rugby-related projects which range from direct funding into facilities and equipment for grass-roots clubs, through international players exchanges, to development programmes which assist youngsters to develop as both rugby players and individuals.
As an organisation which knows a thing or two about developing rugby players and, we hope, people, we are happy to use our resources to help publicise this very worthwhile initiative. Supporters are encouraged to take a look at the Foundation website here: The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation
No doubt, any donations will be gratefully accepted.
Below is the press release issued in connection with today’s launch:
Stars from television and sport have offered their support to launch a new charitable foundation to honour the work of fallen Police Sergeant Matt Ratana shot while on duty at Croydon custody suite in September 2020
Maro Itoje, Gabby and Kenny Logan, Piers Morgan and Nick Knowles are amongst more than 40 well known faces from television and sport to support the foundation, launched in his honour by his friends and supported by his partner.
Commenting on the charity’s launch, Su Bushby, Matt’s partner said:
“Matt believed that creating community was vital to individual growth and success. His work as a coach of all ages and as part of the police was a clear demonstration of this belief.
I am delighted to support the launch of the Foundation today and look forward to seeing it bring to life his legacy, with projects that would have been very close to his heart.”
Award winning classical artist Joanna Forest has recorded a special version of the rugby anthem “World in Union” which also launches today. All proceeds from the recording will go directly to the foundation.
Sean Morgan, representative of the Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation added:
“It is wonderful to officially launch the foundation today. We are looking forward to building and working on projects we know would make Matt proud.
2020 has shown us the value and importance of strong community. It is our hope and vision that the work of the foundation continues Matt’s lifelong efforts to foster community spirit through rugby.”
Donations to the Foundation can be made at www.mattratanarugby.foundation
Matt’s tragic death has touched the world and tributes have already been paid to him by the New Zealand Police and the Metropolitan Police.
The rugby family has also commemorated Matt’s life including tributes from his many friends at East Grinstead and across Sussex and a recognition of his contribution to rugby by the All Blacks and the England team
A number of current and former rugby players and celebrities have pledged their support of the foundation including: Jason Leonard OBE, Rugby World Cup winner 2003 and Chairman of the Atlas Foundation said, “I am delighted to support the Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation and to be able through the Atlas Foundation to provide a platform to help it support young people around the world. There is real synergy in the work of the two Foundations, using the rugby community to help build better lives for others. We look forward to a strong partnership that honours Matt’s sacrifice.”
Maro Itoje, England and Saracens second row, and Atlas Foundation Trustee said, “It is an honour to be part of this legacy for a man who served his country and his sport with such dedication and selflessness.”