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Family holds fundraiser for homicide victims group

REMEMBERED: After the tragic death of her son two years ago, Paula Matthews is planning a 21st birthday celebration in his honour and fundraising for the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group.
REMEMBERED: After the tragic death of her son two years ago, Paula Matthews is planning a 21st birthday celebration in his honour and fundraising for the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group. Mike Richards

SOMEONE stole her son's life, but Paula Matthews is determined to transform her tragedy into affirmative action.

September 9 will mark the 21st birthday of her deceased son Brandon, a milestone every mother deserves to attend.

Instead, the weekend will not be observed with yard glasses, but a fundraiser in honour of the tight-knit community the Matthews family now belongs to - Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group.

It's a support group no one would willingly join, but the services it provides are inherently required.

"The grief never ends; I don't think it will ever stop," Mrs Matthews said.

"I should be organising a party with him, but I can't do that. Instead I am organising a fundraiser for a group that helped us immensely."

On January 8, 2012, then 18-year-old Brandon was stabbed to death on a roadside in Ipswich, in the state's south-east.

Zachary Michael Moloney is serving life in prison with a parole eligibility date of 2028 after a trial found him guilty of murder.

The horrific incident has torn an irreparable hole in the Matthews family.

But two years on from Brandon's murder, Mrs Matthews is determined to support the group that guided her through her darkest moments.

"For every day we spent in court, they were there beside us," she said.

"They have provided constant support. I don't know where we would have been without everything they have done."

What spawned as a modest idea has now catapulted into a cause over 340 Gladstone individuals and businesses are rallying behind.

In less than a week, Mrs Matthews has created a Facebook page as an online portal for the fundraiser, with entertainment, a venue and DJ already secured for the September 13 date.

"We've had to get an event planner," she said.

"It's been completely overwhelming. I did not expect this much support."

With the Gladstone PCYC confirmed as the venue for the over-18 event, focus is now set upon raising as much money as possible.

"We are still seeking major raffles prizes and auction items," she said.

"We want to try and make it a happy celebration. I'm also hoping to organise a support group here."

As well as auction items and raffle prizes, Mrs Matthews and family are also seeking donations.

The theme of the event, loose ties and fishing, incorporate two of Brandon's loves.

Blue and yellow, the colours of the victim support group, will be the colour theme of the evening.

To donate to the cause, head to the Facebook page Brandon Matthews 21st Birthday Fundraiser for QHVSG.

Topics:  brandon matthews, charity, gladstone



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