Whitnash songwriter’s Fightback album will be his lasting legacy

Matt Bates

Matt Bates

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A talented songwriter from Whitnash managed to achieve his musical dream just days before he died from a rare form of cancer.

Matt Bates, 27, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2014 and on Tuesday 100 physical copies of his first ever album Fightback, which documents his last two years with the illness, were released just days after he passed away at Myton Hospice in Warwick on Friday October 28.

Fightback album cover

Fightback album cover

Bill Bates, Matt’s father, said: “He had the album delivered to him just days before he knew what was happening and it was wonderful for him to see a copy of the album before he passed away.

“He looked upon it as his legacy and made it to let people know what had happened to him.

“It wasn’t the case that Matt ‘lost his battle’ with cancer because he fought on until the very end. He was mentally strong even though he was so ill.

“He raised funds for treatment and campaigned, we are just so proud of what he achieved.”

Along with its physical release, Fightback album is available to download on iTunes and Amazon, and it is also streaming on Spotify.

Before he died, Matt said he hoped the album would leave a lasting positive impact on those who hear it.

He said: “I know I won’t be around forever but my music will be and that means a lot. It leaves something behind for my family to cherish too which is great.

“I’ve been determined to love life and live positively since my diagnosis and I hope that comes across in Fightback.

“These obviously aren’t the circumstances in which I wanted to release the album but if it can give people a smile and a lift in life then that’s good enough for me.”

Matt, a journalist who worked for the Coventry Observer and Stratford Herald newspapers, recorded the 13-track album in his father’s studio.

He had been able to play guitar for five years but only discovered his talent for song-writing after he was diagnosed.

He featured as part of a North Warwickshire song writing workshop on BBC Radio Four earlier this year and continued to work on his music into his final days.

Matt’s musical talent added to an already artistic family, Sarah, his sister, is an artist and Louise his mother and Bill have been playing music in folk bands for many years.

Throughout his treatment, Matt documented his experiences in a very personal online blog, keeping family and friends up-to-date with his journey.

In March, three of his close friends completed a cycle ride from Warwick to Amsterdam and managed to raise over £17,000 in the process, with hundreds of people coming out to support the trio.

www.matt-bates.co.uk