Upholstery industry innovator Matt O’Flynn passed away on Friday, 29th March 2019, "after facing his diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma with grace, courage and his infamous humour", writes Matt's "fierce friend and colleague" Rob Walker, director of Orbital Vision.
"Growing up in Nottingham with his parents Konrad and Janet and siblings Suzanne and Catherine, Matt was immersed in the furniture industry from a young age," Rob continues. "He channelled his love of people, conversations and beautiful furniture into a very fulfilling and enriching career. His fun approach and meticulous attention to detail were expressed in every project and relationship he encountered. These were huge assets enabling him to take in his stride his key professional achievements. It was Matt’s passion for marketing, technology and gadgetry that shaped his path.
"He started his career in the family business as a keen marketer. As marketing director at Meadowmead, Matt was instrumental in the founding of Insitu, a modern upholstery brand that he established within stores such as Heal's and Conran. During his 21 years at Meadowmead, he grew the brands John Sankey and Henderson Russell, developed their websites, became a dab hand at constructing and running an exhibition stand and managed their sales teams.
"Alongside this, Matt’s incredible work ethic, passion for and generosity to the industry, also saw him serve as chairman of the Long Eaton Guild from 2009-17, and he was involved with the BFM from 2001, joining the board in 2010 and eventually becoming chairman in 2016. He also chaired the Heart of England fundraising committee for The Furniture Makers’ Company.
"In 2013 Matt took a position at Collins and Hayes as MD, followed by a short stint as commercial director at Sleepezee.
"It was in 2017 that Matt and I founded Orbital Vision, and this was where he really found himself at his happiest. Our combined experience enabled us to see the need for the furniture industry to have a dedicated and knowledgeable digital visualisation service.
"The Exchange in Long Eaton, which was built to house it, was officially opened by Maggie Throup, MP for Erewash, on 17th September 2018. A year on from its inception, Orbital is thriving and growing, and stands as a proud legacy to Matt’s vision to create a central hub for the industry community in which he had immersed himself throughout his life.
"Matt’s boundless, infectious energy, warmth and humour made working with him so much fun, and it was his can-do/will-do approach and finessing of projects with meticulous attention to detail, that made them special. He worked hard because he loved working, and he did it with a self-assuredness that made everything look easy.
"None of this could have been achieved without the love and support of his family and friends, and it was his wife Moira and children – Ruari, Cameron, Evie and Finlay – that were the real joy and inspiration in his life.
"Before his passing, Matt wrote a message on Facebook to everyone that he has left behind:
I’ve been given this opportunity to say thank you very much for being part of my ride.
Now’s not the time for sadness. It’s the time to dig deep and find something you’ve loved about my life and to share it. What I’d like is for people to make a nice record of a memory of me that can be given to my children, either via Facebook or by email or hard copy (depending on how sensitive it is!). No holds barred. The most important thing is to support my family and give my kids some of the memories I haven’t been able to share with them.
Do us a favour. Make the most of the rest of your ride.
Every day is a pun day.
See you on the other side.
Hats all, folks …
"A funeral service to celebrate the life of Matthew will be held on Tuesday, 23rd April at 11:00 at Bramcote Crematorium, Coventry Lane, Beeston, Bramcote, Nottingham NG9 3GJ. Not wanting to be totally uninvolved in his ‘final fling’, Matt requested that guests wear a silly hat, in the spirit of ‘no moaning or mourning’ at his funeral.
"In lieu of flowers there will be a donation box available to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice, where Matthew received such incredible care, and the charity Melanoma UK. A private reception will follow immediately afterwards," concludes Rob.
Matt O’Flynn: 08.06.74 – 29.03.19