Gather round twitter, you know the drill, grab a brew and settle in to learn about Matthew Copestick, seen here on a water flume on a family holiday as a teenager.

This story doesn't have a happy ending, but it is important, and IMHO deserves your attention

Matthew was a summer baby, born in August 1997. He was just 21 when he died at his home in Rochdale, a little over two years ago.

Matt was polite and respectful, he took responsibility and loved his identification as a gentle giant. Matt was big on respect.

He would never sit in the front of the car if there were older people in it, he always shook your hand when he met you and so should you, that sort of thing.

What my Gran would have called 'good old fashioned manners' that you don't see so much nowadays.

Matthew’s inquest heard he ‘was obsessive and could be rigid in his thinking’... on the flip side there are football clubs all over the country who rely on their supporter’s rigid thinking.

Matt was an @officiallydale season ticket holder his entire life #RAFC #TeamRochdale

Matthew had an exceptional memory when it came to Rochdale #RAFC and was able to recall the year, score and goal scorers of games long past. Matthew's unwavering devotion to #TeamRochdale, when combined with his impeccable manners, meant he never left a match early

Matthew's family shared in his eulogy:

‘You couldn’t leave a football match before the end, even when Rochdale were losing 4-0 with 4 minutes of extra time we still had to wait for the final whistle’.

Matthew had Aspergers and he liked order and structure. He had passions and obsessions, the enduring ones snooker, football, music and film.

Matt respected the manner in which snooker should be played, always insisting on silence

Matthew loved music, but had little time for modern artists, instead he was a huge Elton John fan, not averse to belting out Tiny Dancer at the top of his voice, whilst playing an imaginary piano.

I never met Matt but somehow have no difficulty imagining this. What a legend.

Matthew also liked films, and once one was a favourite, it would be watched on a permanent loop.

Throughout his life the honour went to Spiderman films, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Green Mile and There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble.

By the time Matthew came to be living in his own flat, with the help of Newbarn Supported Living, films had been replaced by a love of box sets, with This is England and Phoenix Nights becoming firm favourites

Matthew loved his flat and he and his family had a great relationship with staff at both Newbarn and Renaissance.

Matt's Mum told me: ‘I’ve written to them [the staff] to say Matthew loved them, they were brilliant, they created that chance. I want them to take that away’.

Matthew developed a few problematic obsessions, and while he was able to reject some, BB Guns and cannabis for example, others took hold.

Once an obsession had moved to an addiction, they were harder to break.

Matthew underwent an inpatient detoxification programme in January 2018 regarding drug use.

By August 2018 he’d managed to stop using spice, but his drinking escalated rapidly and was at an excessive level.

I'll not detail the failings in care provided to Matthew in this thread; I'll do that another time. If you can't wait you can read more here…

For now I just wanted you all to have the chance to get to know Matthew better.

So, back to Matt...

Matthew was analytical. He’d analyse song lyrics and draw meaning from them.

His love of analytical conversations meant that his family knew intimately his views and thinking on lots of things, including what he wished for his funeral.

It also meant, helpfully, they knew what his last meal would be if he ever found himself on Death Row.

How's that for forward thinking, planning and attention to detail huh. I know you want to know... it's in the next tweet and not a bad choice if you ask me.

Jam Roly Poly and custard for pudding with a curry buffet Matthew style: poppadoms, mango chutney, red onion and yogurt sauce. Bhajis, meat Samosa the Chicken Tikka Masala, pilau rice (small amount) didn’t really like rice and a large garlic naan bread.

Matthew was detailed, and specific. A man of routine. He kept his head shaved and always wore black, and everything in his flat had to be black, although his family report that he allowed the walls in the lounge of his flat to be painted grey, as a concession to visitors

This photo of Matthew and his Mum and Dad was taken on his 21st birthday, a few months before he died.

I'd like to conclude this thread with some words from Matthew's parents, taken from his eulogy which they shared with me. First his Dad, Lee:

'Matthew, above all, has been a great teacher, his struggles have taught me to be less judgemental, to condemn less and understand more, every individual who is battling with mental health and addiction issues has a backstory which ought to be listened to'

'For me the most powerful thing is that Matthew could draw enormous pleasure from the very simple things in life, a plate of food, a piece of music, a thought provoking film'.

'In a world obsessed by materialism and celebrity Matthew always provided a welcome counterbalance. For that alone I know his life has not been wasted.

Goodbye Matthew, love you loads, it’s been a privilege being your dad’

And from his Mum, Helen:

'I will have to learn to live with the fact that ultimately I failed Matt; that we didn’t quite get to the place where he could live in peace; but I know that Matt both loved and knew that he was loved…'

'Matt and I were very close, he was in my head day and night. He took me to the darkest and brightest of places…

Once when telling him I wouldn’t see him for a week as I was away he said it doesn’t matter, we are always together in our heads…'

'He showed me my capacity for unconditional love. I miss him already but he will always be with me’.

You can read more about Matthew and what happened here… and I'll share more in a thread in a day or so.

Please share Matthew far and wide.

/END for now

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