110 %
raised of £10,000 target
by 222 supporters
Matt Jones avatar
Matt Jones

Matty's Page

Fundraising for Spinal Injuries Association

110 %
raised of £10,000 target
by 222 supporters
  • Event: Virgin London Marathon 2012, 22 Apr 2012

Spinal Injuries Association

We campaign, educate and support SCI people to allow everyone to live a fulfilled life

Charity Registration No. 1054097


5th Aug 2012



My sky dive was meant to take place on Friday 3rd Aug but again got cancelled for the 2nd time but luckily there was a place on Sunday morning.

I was actually thinking if it got cancelled again Sunday for the 3rd time 'Is someone trying to tell me something' and if that was the case I was seriously thinking of not doing it but luckily it was 3rd time lucky and the weather was on my side

I was terribly nervous but with a slight fear of flying and not wanting to go near a small plane I put my nerves and fears to one side, trying to control them and again from 8am Sunday morning i was way out of my comfort zone. After an in depth briefing I was told I was on the first plane to fly and the first to jump out. That somehow made it easier in my mind as I knew it would be over quite soon.

When I boarded the small aircraft with a large shutter door that was constantly open and 10 men all sat between each other’s legs I nearly froze. I was last on to be first to jump so closest to the door where I could see everything.

On all other challenges I have said that Gary was constantly on my mind but this was so different. I was in fear, I was horrified, and all I kept thinking was 'Am I going to survive this'. A bit dramatic I know after so many people do it and no doubt the instructor that I was attached to, probably does it every day.

It was a 20min flight up to 13,000ft and a horrible one but when it got quiet I did remind myself why I was doing this and about all the support I have had leading up to this as well as donations totalling over £700.00 which has put me so close to my target of £10,000.00. (I now stand at £8,600.00 which is 86% reached). I also kept thinking of the telephone call with Gary's Mum and Dad the night before telling me I didn't have to do it but they are ever so proud and will be thinking of me all day until I call them to say its done or not.

I had the nod at 13,000ft that it was time and shuffled down the plane where my legs overhung out of the plane, I had what felt a lifetime to look down and see mainly cloud but through the break of the clouds I could see earth and literally that's what it looked like. As if I was a satellite looking down at the world.

Instantly my heart was in my mouth and I felt terribly sick as I leaned forward and faced my fear. Within seconds I was gone, the plane was no longer and the clouds were coming ever so close to my face. I was travelling over 120mph and the instructor put it in perspective later saying I was covering the length of a football pitch in just one second. For once I felt like Usain Bolt. haha.

My negative and nervous energy quickly turned to enjoyment and I will admit I am no adrenaline junkie but this was just incredible. I honestly felt like a rocket and the feeling was breathtaking.

After a minute of free fall covering 6,000ft the parachute came out releasing a huge amount of relief as it was only that moment I felt safe. I took my goggles off and had approx 5mins to take in and enjoy what felt like being a bird gently whisking past clouds looking down at the world going by and then, finally I could see my family and friends in sight at Swansea airport where they had all come up to support me.

It was amazing to experience so many emotions in a short space of time and when i hit the ground i experienced what it was like to be a child again jumping on my instructor thanking him for giving me this opportunity but mainly bringing me down safely to my adorable children and beautiful wife who I had said goodbye to only 30minutes before. I was jumping and punching the air in delight and that's when I knew how nervous I must have been before hand as all my emotions were coming out and I couldn't control it.

Before the jump, I was only going up there to do a good, it was not something I wanted to tick off a list, it was something I knew that was going to be a huge challenge for me. It wasn't going to be physically challenging which I am used to. this was purely a mental challenge and I had to keep composed, control all my energy and it was something that would help me raise further donations for Gary's chosen charities.

I am nearly to the end of my challenges which finish on the anniversary of Gary's death when I travel by bicycle from my home to Swansea to Leicester and then onto Newcastle delivering all three cheques to the charities.

Next is my 24 hour static bike ride which will take place in Llanelli's Tesco store and the date is yet to be confirmed but hopefully will take place in the next month.

An experience, like all the others that I will never forget and would like to continue to thank all the people who have and are continuing to push me.

You can still donate and help me get closer to my target by just clicking onto www.justgiving.com/mattjones7 or by mobile: just text MATT73 and the AMOUNT and send your message to 70070.

26 June 2012

This weekend I ran half a marathon with a twist and it turned out to be one of my most successful fund raising bucket collections.

My family have always been involved in Autograss racing. So since a young boy i had been brought up in a car racing world which has always been a wonderful sport and great family orientated community. Since my retirement I have slowly been getting back into the sport and now with young children of my own it’s something we are doing more often.

I asked if it was possible if I could run around Severn Valleys race track at this weekend’s round 1 of the British Championship and what a success it was. I ran the uphill track on Friday afternoon and completed the 13.1 miles in 2hours 10mins, being helped around by quite a few. Then on the Sunday I personally went around the drivers pits and spectators with a couple of buckets and the generosity of the racers and their families helped me raise a total of £1,212.04.

If you’ve never heard or seen Autograss Racing before take a look at the links below including me racing my Honda Type R driven class 9.






19 June 2012

Just over a month ago I faced my toughest challenge yet, Running up Snowdon Mountain (The highest point in Wales). I wanted to set myself the challenge of running up and back down again which would certainly push my body but more importantly, my mind to its peak. I was honoured to be joined by Gary’s Mum Carol, Auntie Ann and Nana Brenda. It made my day so special and in the end so easy, because when I was running up the unbelievable incline I knew I was going to be met at the summit by them as they got taken up on the Snowdon Train. Then my return was just as much inspired by knowing they would be there at the bottom.

Also a great treat was being in the company of Andi Jones who is an expert in Mountain running winning the Snowdon Race an impressive 5 times. He, as I expected pushed me to my limit and I am not afraid to say it was definitely one of the hardest physical and mental things I have done in my life. Something I will never forget.

On the way up the mountain the weather was terrifying and I experienced a blizzard with swirling snow and very strong wind. Crazily I done it in a pair of shorts and my Gary Speed tribute made Hoody. I did worry a lot but I knew I would be safe and the sense of Pride and satisfaction I was feeling was worth every step and every bit of pain I felt along the way.

22nd April 2012

Well, the marathon is over and what an experience it was. An absolute eye opener seeing how many people fainted, collapsed and were sick right in front of me! Even a woman of 30 years old sadly died on the course due to a heart condition. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Claire Squires.

For me it was a highly emotional rollercoaster which I will never forget... and during the race I didn't forget for one minute why I was there.. A truely inspirational man in my life who I wanted to pay respect to in my own little way. My first ever official marathon was just one challenge in a list of many, for my tribute to say thank you for everything Gary Speed has done for me.

My expected time to finish the marathon was 4 hours 30 minutes but infact I was so motivated, driven and focused today that I completed it in under 4 Hours in my first attempt.

3 hours, 52 minutes, 45 seconds
Thank you all so much for your continued support.
Ex Leeds United, Leicester City, Llanelli & Wales International Matt Jones is Training for his first ever London Marathon. Matt is dedicating a year of his life in 2012 to pay a special tribute to an old friend and team mate Gary Speed who tragically took his own life in November 2011. The total funds raised will be split three ways into The Spinal Injuries Association, The Bobby Robson and John Hartson Foundations.
‘The charity I support due to my spinal injury is obviously the Spinal Injuries Association, but I wanted to continue all what Gary has done for the other two charities and do everything on his behalf which I know he would be proud of'.
Matt’s first ever marathon was on the day of the Gary Speed Memorial Match at the Cardiff City Football ground on 29 February against Costa Rica, Matt running 29.3 mile in 5 hours and 2 minutes. Matt has also completed a half marathon at Leicester City around the pitch and has dates penciled in for Leeds United and Swansea City ahead of league games. The remaining run for Matt was last weekend, the Llanelli Half Marathon where Matt finished in 1 hour and 48 minutes.
The big one then comes on the 22nd of April when he faces the Virgin London 26.2 miles but Matt doesn’t plan to stop there as he is in discussion organising a skydive out of a plane at 13,000 feet and also wants to run up and down Snowdon Mountain (highest mountain in Wales), among other challenges all to raise money and continue the great work Gary had started with the Bobby Robson & John Hartson Foundations. He will then hopefully end the year by hosting a charity ball to announce his yearly fundraising amount and thank all who have supported him throughout the year.
This is a man who claims he is no longer fit enough to play competitive football yet aims to cover more than 26 miles in under four hours.
“It’s a different kind of fitness,’’ he said. “Since I had my back operation, my left glute muscle doesn’t fire and I struggle a lot with sciatica, so I no longer have that speed or power to play at high intensity or a decent level. But if you’re plodding in a marathon, then I will be able to plod all day.’’
Plodding? The Welshman is surely doing himself and those thousands of runners preparing for the marathon a massive injustice. But for a sportsman like Jones, taking up long-distance running would of been a natural sequel to a promising career which saw him win the Treble as a youngster at Leeds, including the famous FA Youth Cup alongside Paul Robinson, Harry Kewell, Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Smith, Steven Mcphail. etc. He experience Champions League football with the Whites as well as UEFA Cup action before becoming one of Leicester City's most expensive players at the age of 20 when they snapped him from Leeds for 3.5Million. Matt will continue to support that his biggest achievement was representing his country and an honorable achievement now remains that he played for his country alongside the GREAT Gary Speed.
‘Stamina and endurance has always been my strength, keeping going is a big part of ME and I just know regardless what pain I suffer along the way I’ll be determined enough to keep going until the end. Another motivational tool is that I always watched the London Marathon as a young boy and told myself back then that one day I’ll get one of those Medals and here I am preparing myself to take it on. I have always been prevented being a player and since my spine injury I thought I’d never ever get the opportunity, but since the loss of Gary I’ve told myself everyday that maybe my body is not ready for this but I know for sure my mind IS’.
Raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Spinal Research and his ex-Wales team-mate John Hartson's Foundation has kept him going as he pounds the streets in readiness for the big day, but there is never forgetting that man that taught him so much as a youngster at Leeds United.
‘I’ll never deal with the terrifying news of losing Gary as a mate but what I can do is focus all the heartbreaking and emotional feelings into positivity and try to create something good that I can do’.
The ex-Welsh midfielder who played alongside Gary for his country in nearly every cap he received says consistency is key.
“Gary was so consistent as a player but more importantly as a person and I’d like to adapt that attribute to my goals I’ve set this year. I know I need to be consistent with my training but as well as that I know it’s all for Gary and that will be the main thing that will break me through any wall I hit or any pain barrier I may doubt I can go beyond.’
Matty who believed as a player that a strong and positive mentality could get you as far (if not further), as natural flair and technique.
‘Something that I learn’t from Gary was this...that the majority of us are born without a natural gift and we all have to work our socks off to gain anything. As I’ve grown older and seen further into Gaz's meaning I’ve realised that you can always coach or teach a young player how to develop a better technique, skill, ability, etc.. but you can’t install a big heart and a will to win... that has to come from within and if you have that and you are willing to work hard, the obvious thing is that you will improve and you can create perfection'.
Gary was someone who certainly proved that in his playing career and later in his coaching and managerial careers.
'Now I want to prove that I can do this..I’ve set my goals and I will work endlessly to reach my target. I know I’ll be faced with obstacles along the way but a strong mind which I know I’ve got and a big heart which I know I’ve got will pull me through to the end’. I’d like to thank you for reading this and hopefully thank you for making a contribution regardless how small it is. Every penny counts and I really do appreciate it.
If it makes it easier you can also donate by texting from your mobile.. Just text MATT73 and your AMOUNT and text it to: 70070


  • My Last pic with Gaz. Great day with him
  • 24 Hours battling on a bike.
  • A Pain Barrier!!! ha ha. +7