JASON Matthews always wanted to save lives at sea.
But, just a week after visiting Hayling lifeboat station to show his interest, the young fisherman, pictured on page 1, died in a car crash.
Now, in a fitting memorial to the 22-year-old, his legacy will mean lives can continue to be saved by lifeboat volunteers.
Jason’s family raised £4,000 when they held a charity dinner at Relentless Steak and Lobster House in Southsea, which is run by his brother Scott. The money is enough to buy the 10 new state-of-the-art lifejackets that Hayling RNLI needs. The rest of the cash will go into RNLI coffers. Incredibly, the amount is almost as much as is raised in a single year from all the RNLI charity tins on the island.
Scott, 25, who lives in Portsea, said: ‘We raised more than £4,000. It’s a bit of a shock. We’re happy with it and hope it makes a difference.
‘If it only saves one life, it’s worth it. It was for Jason. It’s what he wanted to do.’
The crew at Sandy Point said they were bowled over by the amount raised.
Jonathan Bradbury, operations manager, said: ‘It’s superb – it’s incredible they have raised so much money.
‘It’s a wonderful gesture. It’s something for Jason to be remembered by – it was a real tragedy.’
He said the lifejackets, costing £330 each, will certainly make their jobs easier.
‘The RNLI have designed and brought out a new lifejacket that is lighter and more comfortable,’ he added.
‘The old lifejackets are past their sell-by-date and have worn out.’
Scott added: ‘We were both not really charity people before. It makes you realise and opens your eyes up that if you can do something good, you should do it.’
As reported in The News, Jason, of Haslemere Gardens, Hayling, and his friend Perry Morgan, 21, from Cowplain, died when their car overturned and hit a tree in West Lane, a rural lane on Hayling, on September 1.
People came in their hundreds to say one last goodbye to the fisherman at his funeral at St Mary’s Church.