Tributes to popular Matty

MATTY MORRISON: Top, behind the wheel of a bus, below, with one of his books and with his wife Gwen.
MATTY MORRISON: Top, behind the wheel of a bus, below, with one of his books and with his wife Gwen.
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HUNDREDS of people are expected to pay tribute to one of Wearside’s best-known ambassadors.

Hendon-born Matty Morrison was passionate about his community and the East End of Sunderland.

He spent a little time living in Pennywell before moving back to the area he called “the greatest place on earth.”

Matty, a former non-executive director of Busways, has died of liver cancer. He was 71.

He had only been diagnosed with the disease in June.

Wife Gwen, 63, said the father-of-three and grandfather-of-five planned his funeral so he could get everything just the way he wanted it.

“That was Matty down to a tee,” she said.

“As soon as he was diagnosed he started planning it.

“One of his wishes was that he wanted his friends off the buses to be pallbearers. And, other than them, hundreds of drivers will be there, and that’s without everyone else.

“He was very well known, and he knew everyone.”

Matty wrote books based on the people of the area he loved called Characters of Hendon and the East End, as well as one about city transport, titled Sunderland Tramways to Busways.

“One day he said he wanted to write a book, so he wrote one about the trams and buses first,” said Gwen.

“Then he wrote Characters of Hendon and the East End.

“People enjoyed that so much that he wrote a second one which he finished just before Christmas.”

Songs will be played during Matty’s funeral at Sunderland Crematorium tomorrow to reflect his life, including I Did it My Way, by Frank Sinatra.

“He liked all the likes of Frank Sinatra,” said Gwen. “And that song was just Matty, everything had to be done his way or not at all.

“And a song special to both of us – Footprints in the Sand, by Leona Lewis – will be played at the start.

“We would have celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary this Friday.”

A supporter of Sunderland AFC, Celtic and Liverpool FC, You Will Never Walk Alone, the anthem for the latter club, will also be played to mark Matty’s love of football.

The funeral service is at 10am, on Tuesday, October 22. A wake will follow at The Charlton’s pub in Hendon.