Today we laid a friend to rest. I met Mat Rawlings when I was a consultant at Oxford Computer Group (or ThirdSpace as it’s now known). We didn’t work together nearly as much as I would have liked, but when we did, we had great fun. It was when we discovered we shared a love of cycling that things got interesting. We ended up cycling the London to Paris 24hr together for Scope, as well as a slew of other events, and it was in the process of training and taking part in these that we became firm friends.
In the early 2010’s, both of us started families and as is so often the way with distance, work and home lives - we drifted. Although we retained that short-hand you have amongst close friends and would always slip easily back into conversation even after several months without contact.
Having listened to stories about other peoples relationships with Mat, I realise this is a common thread. He was just a genuinely kind, funny, thoughtful and loving character. One of the good ones. He was also a loving husband and father. Our children were roughly the same age, and while we didn’t live so close to each other, we would like each-others posts and keep an eye out for each other with occasional messages across social media about work and home life. It breaks my heart to think of what his family will be going through now. The messages from his children today will stay with me for a very, very long time.
I’m going to honour Mat not by embarking on some crazy cycling goal or life mission. But in the every day. I’m going to be that little bit more present for my family. Be that little bit more mindful of my customers. And make a little bit more time for the beach.
Farewell, Mat. Hopefully we’ll catch up one day for a ride, and maybe some beers.