Alix Popham has sent out an emotional plea to Welsh rugby fans to tune in to the funeral of his former Newport, Dragons and Wales team mate Matthew J Watkins today.
Watkins lost his brave battle to a rare form of pelvic cancer on March 7 at the age of 41. He won 18 Welsh caps and played for Newport, the Dragons, the Scarlets and Gloucester.
Due to restrictions on public gatherings during the current lockdown, only close members of his family will be able to attend what would otherwise have been a massive funeral at Thornhill Crematorium in Cardiff.
That’s why former Wales No.8 Popham posted his appeal on Twitter for his ex-teammates and all his fans to take part remotely in the funeral.
“I just wanted to put something out there about Matthew J Watkins’ funeral, which is on Tuesday at 2.00pm,” said Popham in a video post on his Twitter account.
“With everything that is going on with the coronavirus only 10 members of his family are allowed to attend his funeral. I know there would have been thousands or family, friends and supporters who would have turned up because of how much Matthew meant to them.
— Alix Popham (@AlixPopham) March 29, 2020
“I want to put an idea out there that everyone tunes into the link and wears a club tie, pin badge or jersey just to show how much Matthew meant to them.
“If you can then post a picture online of you wearing your tie, pin badge or jersey, along with a message or a story about Matthew, or how you came across him, or something funny that happened, because there was lots of that when you were in the presence of MJ.
“If you could do that it would be amazing for his wife Stacey and his boys (Sior and Tal), as well as his family, to read the messages of what he really meant to you.”
A Just Giving charity page in his name has raised more than £26,000 for Velindre Hopsital, in Cardiff, where he received treatment from 2013.
There is also a charity page for St David’s Hospice Care being organised by his family.
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