A FESTIVAL celebrating the life of a father-of-two from Torfaen has raised more than £4,000 for Samaritans.

Mathew Harvey was a keen musician, and his friends and family decided to organise the festival after he took his own life in 2016.

Almost 100 people gathered at Pontypool United Rugby Club on Friday for the night of live music, which featured Mr Harvey’s old band, The Zeds.


Mr Harvey’s sister-in-law Clair said: “The evening was an amazing success. From the moment The Zeds started to play everyone was up dancing.

“It was a fitting tribute to Mathew as he loved playing in the band with Craig Jenkins, Colin Parsons and Lee Jenkins and would have loved their new band member Steven Hall.

“Although the evening was about raising awareness of mental health issues and raising money for the Samaritans it was also held to remember Mathew and to celebrate his life.

“Mathew was the life and soul of the party and always on hand if you needed help. This celebration of his life has just shown how much he is missed by friends and family alike.”

South Wales Argus:

Mathew Harvey's former band The Zeds performing at Mathewfest. Picture: Clair Harvey

The night also featured a raffle, with prizes including a signed Pontypool RFC jersey and a rare John Lennon album.

The festival was first organised in 2017, raising more than £10,000 for the Samaritans.

Prior to the event, a number of Mr Harvey’s friends completed a sponsored run and cycle along Pontypool canal.

So far, this year’s event has raised almost £5,000.

The next Mathewfest will be held in 2021.

South Wales Argus:

Organisers of Mathewfest taking part in the sponsored cycle and run along Pontypool canal. Picture: Clair Harvey

Emma Gooding, policy and communications officer for Samaritans Cymru said: “Once again, we are thrilled to have teamed up with this amazing group of people for Mathewfest.

“This is a unique partnership for the South Wales Valleys Samaritans who aim to increase the level of emotional support available to communities across the South Wales Valleys area.

“Mathewfest is a brilliant example of a community working together, and with local support, to improve the lives of people within their area.

“Suicide is a major public health issue and one of the really important ways of tackling it, is to minimise the stigma surrounding asking for help.

“This event helps to break down barriers and the money raised will help the South Wales Valleys Samaritans reach out to men in the area.

“Their dedication to fundraising, through the run, cycle and gig is amazing and we can’t wait until the next one.”

To find out more, or to donate, search Mathew Fest 2019 on virginmoneygiving.com