Memorial mass for crash victim

Matthew Kearns (right) with brother Alex

Matthew Kearns (right) with brother Alex

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A MEMORIAL mass to celebrate the life of a young ex-pat who died in Texas is set to be held in his home town.

Former Hartlepool man Matthew Kearns, 20, died when his pick-up truck crashed into a lamppost near his USA home, as reported in the Mail.

He was laid to rest in Texas at the weekend in a ceremony attended by more than 300 people.

A memorial mass has also been organised by Matthew’s dad, Tony Kearns, 50, of Talland Close, Hartlepool, for people in the town to pay their respects.

Anyone who knew Matthew is invited to the service at 1pm on Tuesday, May 10, in St Thomas More Church, in the town’s Easington Road.

Matthew’s cousin, Sam Murphy, 28, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, spoke to the Mail as Tony was said to be “grief-stricken”.

Sam, who works for alcohol service The Albert Centre, said: “There were a lot of people at the funeral in Texas, the church was said to be stowed out.

“Matthew was a really popular person and there are a lot of people in Hartlepool who would have wanted to go but couldn’t for many reasons.

“This service will give them a chance to celebrate Matthew’s life and everyone is invited to come along on the day.”

Matthew’s 16-year-old brother, Alex, was also injured in the smash that happened at around 5am local time on Saturday, April 24.

Matthew was pronounced dead at the scene and Alex suffered a fractured pelvis.

The tragedy happened just weeks after the college student had celebrated his birthday by ringing relatives back home to tell them how much he loved them.

Matthew and Alex, both former Sacred Heart RC Primary School pupils, moved from Hartlepool to America in June 2005 along with their mum, Michelle Bailey, and her husband, Peter, after he found engineering work with BP.

Sam added: “I have good memories of the 14 years that Matthew lived here, as do many people.

“Everyone is totally gutted about what has happened.”

Ex-English Martyrs student Matthew, who had played for the Greatham and St Francis boys teams in Hartlepool, had been head-hunted for the Varsity football team in America.

The grandson of the late billiards champion Bob Close, he had hoped for a career in music and had been due to perform in his show – MC In Da UK – on Friday.