Touching tributes paid to Labour campaigner Matthew Percy following tragic death on Monday night

Matthew Percy

Matthew Percy - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been flowing in after the death of one of the best-known young people on the Ipswich political scene.

Matthew Percy represented Suffolk in the UK Youth Parliament

Matthew Percy represented Suffolk in the UK Youth Parliament - Credit: Archant

Matthew Percy, 21, of Edmonton Close, Kesgrave, died in a collision with a train late on Monday evening, shortly after posting an emotional message on Facebook.

He was a member of the Youth Parliament and had served on Kesgrave Town Council.

His family have paid tribute to Mr Percy, see here

A keen member of the Labour Party, he was a regular face on its campaign teams both in his own constituency of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and in Ipswich itself where he was helping candidate David Ellesmere’s general election campaign.

He was a former Kesgrave High School pupil and had been studying at UCS.

Mr Percy was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder when he was just eight years old, and it is understood he had also been treated for depression.

In his last Facebook message, less than an hour before he died and which he described as his “final farewell,” he thanked everyone who had given him opportunities in life – but said he did not have the strength to fight any more.

Labour candidate in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Jack Abbott said: “I want to pay tribute to the passion he showed to politics and the various campaigns he was involved with and the work he has done.”

Mr Ellesmere also spoke of Mr Percy’s passion for politics and his desire to make the world a better place.

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He said: “He showed his determination to do what he could for the community and he has been re-elected to Kesgrave Town Council. His death is a real shock and our thoughts are with his family.”

Mr Percy was well-known across the political spectrum – and Ipswich Conservative candidate Ben Gummer added his own tribute: “Matthew was a delightful man whom I have often had very interesting conversations with.”

Mr Gummer said he always found Mr Percy very thoughtful and he was someone prepared to discuss political issues rationally: “It is desperately sad news and my thoughts are with is family,” he added.

Mr Percy began studying on the first year of a BA (Hons) degree in Special Educational Needs and Disability Studies at UCS in 2014 and was a Students’ Union Course Representative.

Course leader Dr Allison Boggis described Matthew as, “Inspirational, dedicated, passionate and well-liked and respected by his peers.”

“He had a wide-reaching group of friends, across many courses at UCS and was extremely committed to changing social and political perceptions of inclusion and diversity.”

Ben Adofo, President of the UCS Students’ Union, said, “Matthew was a student representative who was ambitious, driven and passionate about creating change for a greater student experience. On behalf of students at UCS I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to Matthew’s family and friends. ”

Richard Lister, UCS Provost and Chief Executive, said, “Such occurrences are very rare and Matthew’s loss is distressing to the whole community. Staff and students at UCS are, understandably, deeply saddened and affected by this news. Our thoughts are with Matthew’s family at this time.”

In 2013 Mr Percy was one of the youngest Labour candidates in the country when he stood for one of the Kesgrave seats on Suffolk County Council at just 19 years old.

Mr Percy lived with his mother Holly and sister and was nominated for a county-wide Young People of the Year (YOPEY) when he was 16.

An inquest into his death is expected to be opened in the near future.

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