Matt Campbell funeral: fiancee puts ring on his finger

The heartbroken fiancee of a Glengormley man slipped the ring on his finger today - at his funeral instead of their wedding - with the music intended for their first dance playing in the background.

Monday, 24th September 2018, 3:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 9:13 am

Electrician Matt Campbell, 24, was working as a contractor for NI Water at a water pumping station at Slieve Gullion Forest Park in south Armagh when a tree was blown down on him during Storm Ali last Wednesday.

His fiancee Robyn Newberry was due to pick up their wedding rings the day after he died, in preparation for their big day.

But instead of exchanging the rings during their wedding in August next year, to mark the start of their new life together, she partnered him at the front of a Ballyclare funeral home today, placing the ring on his finger as her final goodbye.

Family and Friends pay their final respects at the funeral of Matthew Campbell at Fleming & Cuthbert Funeral Home in Ballyclare today. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

In the background the music playing was ‘Close your eyes’ by Michael Buble, which was to be the music for their first dance on their wedding day.

Matt’s father Mark Campbell told the News Letter that there had been a massive turn-out of people to show their respects - well over 500.

“We would have been proud to have Robyn as our daughter in law along with their mad dog Willow, who Matthew loved,” he told mourners, who had been asked to wear bright colours.

Many wore tops and scarves belonging to Liverpool FC, Matt’s favourite team.

Matt Campbell and his fiancee Robyn Newberry. Matt was working as an NIE contractor when he killed by a falling tree in a storm in south Armagh on 19 September 2018.

Matt met his fiancee, “the love of his life”, when he was 18, his father said.

“It was obvious from the start he loved her. He proposed 8 months later on Christmas Day their relationship developed quickly. He loved Robyn with all his heart they were well suited to each other. He never stopped talking about her.”

The tragedy of his death had still not really been taken in by his father.

“I cannot believe I am standing here today talking about our big son Robert Matthew Campbell. Born on 1st may 1994... My beloved son in whom I am well pleased – my dad said this about me all my life I said the same to Matthew.”

Family and Friends attend the funeral of Matthew Campbell at Fleming & Cuthbert Funeral Home in Ballyclare today. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

He described his son as a “hard working, well mannered, loving and all round great guy who was not frightened to express or show his affections to those close to him. We are immensely proud of him.”

The response from his wide circle of friends made a huge impact on his family.

“The tributes in the last few days from friends, school teachers, colleagues, ex colleagues, employers, schools, friends, neighbours and many many others are testament to the type of young man he was. I just wish he was here to see it with his big smile radiating, his ginger hair and ginger beard. I cannot stop crying while writing this.

He was polite, kind, loving, generous and a true friend to all.

“We as a family are absolutely and utterly devastated at Matthew’s death. We will miss his witty jokes, his hugs and kisses and his firm handshake. There is so much we could say about our son he made us so proud in the way he conducted himself, his work ethic his ability to show affection and to make us all laugh we love you son and will miss you dearly.”

He added: “The day before Matthew died I had a minor car accident in East Belfast, I put a comment about it on our family thread on Messenger... about a half an hour later Matthew rang me, he was annoyed he had not seen the thread at the time but he said he was so busy and apologised, I said son no-one was injured and the insurance will sort it out and for him not to worry. This was the last time I spoke to Matthew, our last words where ones we always said, ‘Love you son’ to which he replied ‘Love you dad’. I will miss this so much.”

Mark said he would do anything to bring his son back.

“Pamela [Matt’s mum] and I have worked and saved hard all our lives and we have a comfortable lifestyle but we would give all this away including our own lives just to have Matthew back – material things mean nothing.”

• Matt’s sister Ashley also read a poem to mourners that he had written about Robyn;-


My love, your eyes

Your hair

Your smile

All beautiful things

I have thought of

Since I caught a glimpse


I love thy presence

Thy personality

Thy essence

Ever since I noticed

Thy existence


My stomach has butterflies

Even now

When I see you Laugh


Or just being daft


You are my whole life

Someone I intend on committing

So please My love

Indulge my commitment

With a smile,


A laugh

A dance

A tear of joy

As we walk down that aisle

To the start of Forever.