'We’re never going to let his memory fade': Family of tragic Hartlepool teen organise fundraising walk
The family of tragic schoolboy Matthew Sherrington plan to give back to the emergency services with a special walk next month.
The walk, from Blackhall Colliery to Steetley Pier, in Hartlepool, where Matthew, 14, was last seen, is to take place on Saturday, October 9, and participants are encouraged to wear onesies or fancy dress.
Matthew’s cousin, Jess Coles, who is organising the event with his great auntie Lorraine Smith and auntie Jennifer Sherrington, has said the event aims to show the family’s appreciation to the Coastguard as well as to honour Matthew’s memory.
Police, Coastguard search teams and the RNLI all took part in a search operation immediately after Matthew’s disappearance on July 15.
Jess, 26, said: “It’s in memory of our Matty and he was daft as a brush.
"We thought, because it’s for him, we’ll dress up daft and look funny while we do it and make it fun.
"I’m expecting a very good turnout. A lot of people said they’re going to attend. A lot of family and friends and Matthew’s friends are coming to do it as well.
"I’m looking forward to it, I’m hoping it’s going to be a nice day.”
The mother-of four from Peterlee added: "We’re all heartbroken about what happened. We’re never going to let his memory fade.
"It’s been hard, but life doesn’t just stop. We’ve still got to keep trodding on.
"But every time I look at photos of him, my heart absolutely breaks. I was only looking at them the other day and I ended up crying.
"It’s a horrible thing for a family to go through and we are all devastated.”
Following Matthew’s tragic death, Jess, Lorraine and Jennifer have been trying to increase water safety awareness and hope to start volunteering with the RNLI to spread the message about the dangers of the water.
Jess said: "We miss him. We’re never going to let his name or memory fade away. We’re always going to be doing things in his name, so people remember and so people take the water safety advice that we are trying to offer.
There are also plans for a fundraising pyjama day at Matthew’s former school, Blackhall Primary, and a family fun day next year.