HE was a man of the people who had cut thousands of people’s hair during a 21-year career as a barber.
But popular Matthew Evans died on Boxing Day in his sleep, aged just 41.
Customers at Ian’s Barber Shop in Havant dipped into their pockets to raise more than £1,700 in his memory.
The cash has now been spent on a memorial bench at his favourite viewing point – Priddy’s Hard in Gosport – close to where he lived.
Later this year a second bench will be placed at Fleetlands Golf Club in Gosport, where Mat, as he was known, could be found every weekend perfecting his game and socialising with friends.
Any surplus cash will go to help the charity Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Ian Russell, who runs the barber shop in Park Road South, said the tragic and unexpected death had left a big hole in the shop.
He said: ‘How can someone at 41 years old who seemed so fit and well just be taken from us? I wake up every day and remember that he is gone.
‘In 1993 he called the shop having completed his apprenticeship as a barber.
‘He came for a trial and spent the next 21 years here.
‘The banter was good and the customers loved it. He loved music and would always sing some awful tune in the car coming home from work.’
Ian said Fleetlands Golf Club was the centre of Mat’s life, along with his family.
‘The work that Mat put into the club will be recognised as he will have his own board competition,’ said Ian.
‘Mat was always his own man, he was quick-witted, and had a great sense of humour.
‘He loved a good debate and had a wealth of knowledge and opinion on most things.
‘If he disagreed with you, he always did it with a shrug and smile and just let it slide.’
He added: ‘The shop will never be the same without him. The remaining staff have been overwhelmed at the number of his customers and our regulars who have paid such lovely tributes to him.
‘Even now four months after his untimely passing we still have customers asking where he is.’
He spent Christmas Day with parents Geoff and Helen Evans and his daughter Nancy, as well as his sister Abi and his stepson Charlie, who had travelled from overseas.
Ian added: ‘He loved football and was an avid Liverpool supporter. How he would have enjoyed their race for the title.’
A memorial golf tournament takes place at the club on July 12.