Manager Matt becomes voice of the nation with poetic tribute

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photo of Christopher Eccleston

A Wigan Council service manager has become the voice of the nation with an emotional poem paying tribute to frontline workers.

Matt Kelly’s message of hope was penned initially for his partner Jill Scully, a district nurse, who shared it with colleagues and on social media.

The piece has now been passed around the country and has been brought to life by one of the UK’s most prominent actors.

Matt, who works for the parks and streetscene team, was inspired by Jill’s hard work on the frontline of the Covid-19 response and her daughter, Lily, expressing concern for her mum.

He said: “I have been very humbled and honoured by the reaction; especially hearing stories of it bringing health care staff to tears.

“I have always messed about with poems, in birthday cards and things like that, but never something like this. I’ve just always been interested in the power of the English language.

“I thought about when we’re all clapping on our doorsteps on a Thursday night, perhaps we are all guilty of taking the NHS for granted at times.”

His words were voiced by Christopher Eccleston as part of a BBC radio slot on Friday.

Matt said: “I was asked if I would read it for them and I mentioned I had been practicing in the style of Christopher Eccleston.

“Next I heard they had asked him if he would perform it and he said he would be honoured.

“I burst into tears – it was just surreal to hear him read out these words that I had written in the middle of the night on my phone.”

The poem will now be used by Wigan Council to help a recruitment campaign for volunteers and frontline workers.

Leader of the council, Coun David Molyneux, said: “We have seen across Wigan Council and our partners in the health services that staff are showing exceptional levels of dedication to serve our communities.

“Matt’s inspiring words encapsulate our gratitude for the NHS and all key-workers and this emphasises why we all need to do our bit to relieve the strain on them by following the public health guidelines.”