On January 18th, 2021, less than two weeks before his 30th birthday, Matt Francis died suddenly and unexpectedly in an avalanche while working as a ski instructor in Switzerland. He was not done with his time here on Earth and had so much more to give. Matt (in the picture below, to the right) was an incredibly talented musician and athlete. A deep humanitarian and joyful and loving friend, he touched every person he met and changed them for the better.
While we mourn the loss of a wonderful friend, we look back with fondness at the impact Matt had on our charity. He always had an incredible passion for teaching young people how to ski and in 2018 he even completed a month-long bike ride to raise money for us.
In just 35 days he cycled 3250km from Frankfurt to Istanbul, raising an incredible £1621.05. Averaging 100kms a day, travelling through 13 countries and wild camping every step of the way, this was by no means an easy challenge.
Matt told us:
“Things got really tricky when my riding partner, Niall, got food poisoning. He kept pedalling despite passing out in car parks and farmers’ fields from exhaustion. We later had to adapt the route to make sure we got to Istanbul in time for our finishing day. But we did it!
I think my highlight of the challenge was reaching the Greek coast after 25+ days of cycling through fields and on roads – that first dip in the sea was incredible!”
We think this challenge shows the determination, passion and commitment Matt had.
Alongside a passion for skiing, he was also passionate about music. In the last year of his life, he started writing an album, which he never got to release. Matt’s family and friends have taken what he had recorded and are releasing it on his behalf, with all of the profits going to charities close to his heart.
Life is Bigger is an album created by Matt using just his guitar, loop pedal and computer. Matt recorded every song himself in the various places he loved — his bedroom in the middle of London, his dad’s house by the sea in Dover and the cabin in the snow in Switzerland, where he spent his final days. His friends and family finished the mixing and mastering of these songs so they can now be released how he intended.
Life is Bigger is aptly named after Matt’s mantra and the way he lived his life. Matt treasured and deeply enjoyed every second of life, the beauty of these moments made him always see the bigger picture and never harp on pettiness or the small things. Matt truly lived for others’ happiness and always inspired others to live their lives this same way.
Please do have a look at the beautiful website that has been created in Matt’s name. Here you can find out more about Matt’s music and can purchase his album. All proceeds raised from the sale will be donated to our programme Snow Camp and Fairbeats UK. Matt really was incredibly talented, so please do click below. Thank you.