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Rugby Foundation launched in honour of Sgt Matt Ratana

The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation has today (20 November) been set up to support projects that help young people and their communities through sport.

Rugby Foundation launched in honour of Sgt Matt Ratana

Date - 20th November 2020
By - Chloe Livadeas
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TV and sports stars have given their support to help launch a new charitable foundation to honour Sergeant Matt Ratana who was shot dead while on duty at Croydon custody suite in September.

Matt was born in the Hawke's Bay Region of New Zealand and was of Maori descent. He moved to England in 1989, and worked for the Metropolitan Police for nearly 30 years. Matt also served with New Zealand Police, joining the British High Commission Wing in 2003 and serving in the Auckland City and Counties Manukau police districts before returning to the UK in 2008. 

Matt was passionate about rugby, and worked as a coach for all ages. He was the head coach of East Grinstead RFC and head coach of Sussex RFU Marlets. He also played for the Metropolitan Police’s Rugby team.

Maro Itoje, Gabby and Kenny Logan, Piers Morgan and Nick Knowles are amongst more than 40 well-known names from television and sport to support the foundation, set-up in Matt’s honour by his friends and supported by his partner.

Recipients of funds will include clubs and schools nationally and internationally and Matt’s home club, East Grinstead RFC in West Sussex. 

The charity also aims to support local training facilities, exchange experiences with clubs in New Zealand and South Africa for 18 to 23 year-olds and invest in improving equipment and facilities at clubs across the UK. 

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.”

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.”

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 towards the foundation.

The foundation was formed within the Atlas Foundation - a charity that exists to help deprived children work towards a better future through rugby communities and initiatives.

A number of current and former rugby players and celebrities have pledged their support of the foundation.

One of these 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.”

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