Moving song supports Worthing police officer Matt Ratana’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year nomination

A number one classical singer has released a moving tribute to Sergeant Matt Ratana, a police officer from Worthing who died in Croydon.

Joanna Forest, an award-winning, multiple number one soprano, has recorded a version of World in Union in honour of Sgt Ratana, who was well known as head coach at East Grinstead Rugby Club.

Matt was tragically killed on September 25 after being shot by a handcuffed suspect in Croydon Custody Centre.

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He has now been nominated for the Unsung Hero award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Joanna’s rendition of World in Union – a well-known rugby anthem – will accompany his nomination video.

Sergeant Matt Ratana

Joanna said: “Like so many others, I was so shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Matt. When a mutual friend approached me to sing this song as part of the nomination video for the upcoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year ‘Unsung Hero’ Award nomination, I didn’t hesitate.

“Taking it a step further and releasing the song in his memory is an honour. I hope it brings comfort to his family and in friends across the police and rugby community. He was clearly a deeply respected man who was loved and admired by many.”

The song was arranged by pianist Joel Goodman, who described the process as an ‘emotional experience’. He said he hoped the song could shine a light on all that Matt did during his life and the legacy he left behind.

The recording was produced at the Soundlab Studios in Loughton, Essex in the middle of October and in respect for the club, Joanna and Joel recorded the song wearing East Grinstead Senior rugby playing shirts.

The club’s official film maker, Mike Rumsey, Rumsey Films, captured the moment, creating a film that integrates the performance with moving film and images of Matt taken from across the years.

Matt’s partner, Su Bushby, requested that the song was played before its release during Matt’s funeral service earlier this month.

Andy Poole, president of East Grinstead RFC said: “Words fail me, we really cannot thank Joanna and Joel for arranging the composition enough. Both have shown such kindness and compassion at this extraordinary, hard time.

“We reached out and they were there. This beautiful song has been recorded in the hope it brings a little harmony and unity to Su, Matt’s partner, his friends and loved ones and to the police and rugby communities around the world. “All profits from the song will go to ‘The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation’ and Joanna and Joel gave up their time for free.”

All money raised from the song will go to The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation, a fund within The Atlas Foundation, a UK registered charity number 1161179 from which it receives financial and non-financial support. The aims are simple – to change life experiences through Rugby harnessing the power of the game to make a positive, lasting impact on individuals’ lives, developing skills and strengthening communities. Something that Matt did every day of his 54 years of life.

The song, ‘World In Union (2020)’ will be released on the 20 November, 2020, under the record label ‘Matt Ratana Music’. To pre order or pre save the single, available from click here