Luton Town promotion helps bereaved family ‘enjoy life again’

Matthew Humphreys Image copyright Jayne Humphreys
Image caption Matthew Humphreys was taken to watch Luton Town as a child along with his brother Daniel

A bereaved family says supporting Luton Town through their promotion season has taught them to “enjoy life” again.

Jayne and Dean Humphreys’ 14-year-old son Matthew took his own life in December 2017.

The teenager, from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, had been suffering from mental health issues.

His mother said watching the Hatters climb the League One table had “completely separated us from the devastation we were feeling”.

She said: “We have followed the club’s highs and lows as we have had our highs and lows.”

Image copyright Jayne Humphreys
Image caption Dean Humphreys started supporting Luton in the 1980s and his wife Jayne became a fan in the ’90s

Mrs Humphreys said her family was left in “complete shock” after Matthew’s death.

She said things started to change when the couple and their 13-year-old son Daniel were invited to watch Luton play at Kenilworth Road in February last year.

“Just an hour and a half into the game, we felt different, we felt normal again, as we found ourselves cheering and smiling,” she said.

“It completely separated us from the devastation we were feeling. For me that was a hint that Luton Town were our means of recovery from our grief and devastation.”

Last year they decided to get a season ticket and have seen Luton gain promotion back to the Championship.

A Hatters spokesman said: “Everyone at the club has been touched by the family’s story and the tragic loss of Matthew.

“We are so pleased this season’s great form has brought some joy to their lives.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Luton Town won promotion to the Championship in April
Image copyright PA
Image caption Club legend Mick Harford, who was caretaker manager, said Luton were “on the up”

Mrs Humphreys said as the season progressed “we suddenly found ourselves laughing with the crowd and just feeling passionate at every game”.

“We never expected promotion, we were hoping for mid-table, and it just kept getting better and better as they kept on winning.”

Saturday’s match at home to Oxford United will confirm whether they go up as champions, depending on Barnsley’s result at Bristol Rovers.

The club were last relegated from the second tier in 2007, and dropped out of the Football League altogether between 2009 and 2014.



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