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OBITUARY MATTHEW THOMPSON

11th November 2013

Thompson establishes the Matthew Fencing Trust

Matthew Thompson, 57, died of cancer at his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire on 12th October 2013.  Born in Leeds, Matthew spent his early family life in Sheffield and Radcliffe on Trent.  One of four children, Matthew and his family were keen on narrow-boating and travelled almost the entire inland waterways network of the UK.

After an early career in architecture, Matthew switched his focus to engineering, studying for a Bachelor’s degree at the Open University before gaining at Masters from Cranfield University.

It wasn’t until 1983, when he moved to Abingdon, that he found his major passion – fencing.  He was coached by John Llewellyn and Tomek Walicki, later becoming a coach himself, studying under Gabor Bognar, Peter Frolich and Zolte Nemeth.

Travelling the country as a freelance engineer, Matthew always carried his fencing bag with him so that he could visit the local fencing club.  The result was a huge network of friends within the fencing community.  In 2001, he elected to swap his engineering career for one as a full time fencing coach.  He coached at many Oxfordshire based clubs and at Dragon School in Oxford and boasted both regional and national champions amongst his pupils as well as having many internationally capped fencers in his stable.

It was inevitable that Matthew would turn to the administration of the sport and he served two terms at Board Director of England Fencing.  In 2005, he took over “Tomorrow’s Achievers” which is England Fencing’s youth performance programme.  He continued in this role until a few weeks before his death.  His contribution to the sport was recognised by England Fencing in June 2013 when he was awarded a gold medal.

After receiving his diagnosis, Matthew turned his attention to practical matters. With no dependents to consider, he established the “Matthew Fencing Trust” whose aims are:

“To aid young fencers in their development by providing facilities for young fencers through access to competitions and supporting them in being able to go and therefore gain appropriate experience, both fencing and other, that will enhance their development and performance both home and abroad.”

Donations to the trust can be made by sending cheques payable to “Matthew Fencing Trust” c/o England Fencing, 1 Baron’s Gate, 33-35, Rothschild Road, Chiswick, W4 5HT.

With his irreverent sense of humour intact until the last, he planned his own funeral, taking his final journey in a coffin designed to look like a Cadbury chocolate box, to the strains of the Goon’s “Ying-tong” song. He will be sadly missed by his family and wide circle of friends.

(British Fencing would like to thank Ray Stafford for his assistance in writing this obituary.)

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