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Cycle cafe owner's widow to tackle taboo of death at celebration of husband's life

PUBLISHED: 16:48 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:48 03 April 2019

Cliff Matthews and his wife Anna, pictured during 2018. Picture: Lizzy Matthews

Cliff Matthews and his wife Anna, pictured during 2018. Picture: Lizzy Matthews

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The widow of a popular Ipswich cafe owner who died has said she wants a celebration of his life to help tackle the taboo of talking about death.

Cliff Matthews and daughter Seren, out to watch a cycle race    Picture: FAMILY COLLECTIONCliff Matthews and daughter Seren, out to watch a cycle race Picture: FAMILY COLLECTION

Cliff Matthews’ coffin will lay inside the teepee of La Tour Cycle Cafe, the business he and his wife Anna founded on Ipswich Waterfront, during the event between 4pm and 8pm on Thursday, April 4.

Many people are expected to come along to pay tribute to the popular cyclist and member of Wolsey Road Club, who died on March 22 from cancer.

But his wife Anna said that as well as celebrating her husband’s life, she wants the event to try to tackle one of life’s great taboos - talking openly about death.

MORE: Cliff Matthews obituary

“I hope that it’s going to be a great celebration of Cliff and the connection we have with Ipswich and Suffolk,” she said.

A born-again cyclist: Cliff Matthews in the CC Breckland 12. Picture: FERGUS MUIRA born-again cyclist: Cliff Matthews in the CC Breckland 12. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

“We’ve been here eight years, it’s where our daughter was born and we raised three of our children here.

“I hope it will get people to talk about death. It is a bit of a taboo and sometimes we don’t know how to talk about it.

“I hope people will be able to talk in an open and honest way about his illness and his death.

“I want to keep celebrating Cliff and keep talking about him - he was a major part of my life.

“For me, it’s good to talk about the fact that we’re born and we die.”

Anna has described Cliff as “the most interesting human being I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have in my life”.

The chartered chemical engineer and his family moved to Suffolk in 2012 when he got a job project managing an energy-from-waste facility in Great Blakenham.

Cliff and Anna opened La Tour Cycle Cafe in July 2015 as a place where riders could stop for a break.

Anna said: “He loved Suffolk. Although we’d only been here eight years, he’d got the most established group of friends from not only the work he’d been doing but also through the cycling.

“Not only did he love Suffolk, he very much loved the people of Suffolk. We’d made some really deep connections here.”

Everyone is invited to the celebration of life event, where there will also be music.

A funeral service and burial at the church of St Mary, Nettlestead, west of Claydon, takes place the following day, with a cycle procession from Mr Matthews’ home.

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