As the shocking news broke during the week that Matt Kemp had passed, it was a struggle here at GG as to how we should pay our respects.
Knowing the family, but not truly knowing Matt – he had spent the last 20 years living in Spain – we felt it best to check with his brother, Alex, and the rest of the Kemps as to how best to commemorate the man.
The Kemps – Vanessa, Jeremy, Alex and mum, Carol – will be over in Parque Cementerio San Caventano this Wednesday, May 24th, for Matt’s funeral, with a second service still currently being planned for somewhere closer to his childhood home here in Greystones. In the meantime, what to say about this larger-than-life guy…?
As his sister-in-law, Aisling, explains, underneath it all – the tattoos, the mischievous, menacing smile, the mock macho poses – Matt was a very kind and gentle guy. Especially when it came to kids – and in particular, of course, his beautiful, four-year-old daughter, Bella Rose. Only football came close to receiving the depth of love Matt felt for his beloved Bella.
Spain is where Matt made a new life for himself, where he became a father, and where he met his best friend of the last 20 years, Gary – who, coupled with Wayne, were his two brothers from another mother.
And let’s not forget his lifelong buddy, Niall Sweeney.
Greystones is where Matt spent all his formative years though, in the bosom of his loving family, and in the bars, booze-ups and barbeques of his many friends here. Matt was one of the few people around here who could actually out-party Laura Dicker. And that’s really saying something.
So, here’s to all those fun times, both here, in the very occasionally rainy Greystones, and over there, in the very occasionally sunny Marbella. Matt left an undeniable mark on both places, and a whole lot of smiles on many, many faces.
On both sides of the Irish Sea.
And that, undoubtedly, is the way Matt would want all his loved ones, buddies and best friends – whether perfectly pale or terrifically tanned – to remember him. With a smile on our faces…
There will be a service for Matt in Greystones, on Saturday, June 3rd, noon, at St Patrick’s Church…