Matthew J Watkins: Tributes paid during ex-Wales centre’s funeral

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Scarlets were among the teams Matthew J Watkins played for

Friends and family have paid tribute to former Wales centre Matthew J Watkins at his funeral.

Watkins died earlier in March at the age of 41 from a rare form of pelvic cancer.

His funeral was streamed online because of distancing measures in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

A large gathering would have been expected at Cardiff’s Thornhill Crematorium, but only 10 people were allowed to attend.

Ex-Wales forward Alix Popham had urged friends and fans to watch wearing team jerseys, badges or ties and post the pictures online.

The former number eight suggested watchers also post stories about Watkins, who won 18 caps for Wales between 2003 and 2006 and played for Newport, Dragons, Scarlets and Gloucester.

Many did so while using the hashtag #RIPMJ while paying tribute on social media.

Watkins retired in 2011 and revealed in 2013 he had pelvic cancer.

At the funeral family members heard his life described as “a life cut short, but one lived to the full”.

He was said to be “so brave, he was more concerned about the welfare of his loved ones” than himself.

Music included Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”, Mumford and Son’s “I Will Wait”, and an acoustic version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” before mourners departed to the sound of “My Way”.

Donations were requested for St David’s Hospice in Cardiff.

Because of the coronavirus restrictions, a full memorial service is planned when public health regulations allow.





BBC News

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