Secret Millionaire Matthew Newbury will be joining Lunchworks on Friday 7th December to talk to charity representatives about his experience on the show, philanthropy and his changed perspective on disability.
Matthew Newbury will be in Manchester next week for Lunchworks sharing his inspirational story about his time on the Channel 4 programme The Secret Millionaire and how it changed his perception of disability and reinforced his belief in the importance of philanthropy. Lunchworks is taking place on Friday the 7th December 2012 and is brought to you by Reason Digital and Dovetail.
With his unique position as a millionaire property developer with a theatre background, Matthew will talk about what he has learnt through his involvement in non-profit and charity organisations and will offer insight to charities looking for new ways to attract the attention of big donors.
Confronting his own disability
Matthew Newbury isn’t your average businessman. Originally from Norwich, he quit school at the age of 12 deciding education wasn’t for him instead choosing to volunteer at the Norwich Playhouse theatre.
Days before his 16th Birthday, Matthew was involved in a collision with a Land Rover when he was a passenger on a pillion bike. Unfortunately this resulted in an above knee amputation and 18 months in different hospitals and rehabilitation centres. He had to cope with the mental struggles of a long term lawsuit, before he was rewarded compensation of over £2 million in 2004.
After the accident, Matthew went back to the world of theatre, getting a job in a West End Theatre before more recently using some of his compensation to form his property company, Newbury Developments, which led him to be in the position to take part in The Secret Millionaire.
The Secret Millionaire
In May 2012 Channel 4 aired Matthew’s episode of The Secret Millionaire, which saw him travel to North Manchester with a Channel 4 production team. Having had his leg amputated as a teenager following a motorbike accident, Matthew had his eyes opened to the challenges facing local and national communities surrounding disability. Forced out of his comfort zone, he had the chance to reflect on his own struggles and explore how others cope with disability. As a result of his experiences on the show, Matthew is now an Ambassador of The Meningitis Trust after meeting Alex Williams, an inspirational youth ambassador of the charity, who sadly passed away shortly after the show aired.
Matthew spent time with meeting different charity groups but the most powerful story to come from the show was how meeting Alex gave Matthew a whole new perspective on disability and charity involvement.
Alex Williams and The Meningitis Trust
Whilst visiting the Oldham Owls basketball team, Matthew met Alex Williams. Alex had contracted meningitis at the age of 7 resulting in his confinement to a wheelchair. Matthew’s time with Alex was spent giving out symptom cards to shoppers in the local supermarket and then he was invited to join a family meal at Alex’s home. Here, he was overwhelmed by his welcome but also became concerned about the accessibility of the house. Matthew took it upon himself to use his property development background to fix the problems and over the course of the following months Matthew continued to build a relationship with the family, classing Alex as one of his closest friends. It was this first-hand experience of interacting with such a loyal ambassador of a charity that inspired Matthew to follow Alex’s example and become an ambassador of The Meningitis Trust.
Recently Matthew has been helping adapt a house for Grace Matthews, a five year old who contracted meningitis two years ago resulting in the loss of both her legs from the knee down. His help has meant that her and her family’s lives can change for the better.
Wanting to learn more about activities in the area for other amputees, Matthew met Chris Whiteley, an ex-prison officer who leads Challenge4Change, a centre which works with a wide range of people with disabilities and disadvantaged children. After being emotionally touched by the work the centre does, Matthew covered the cost of converting a 1970s double decker bus as a parting gift meaning Chris and his team could take to the road to continue to do the good they do.
MaD Theatre Company
Having previously being a theatre lighting programmer, Matthew went to help out at Moston-based MaD, attending their rehearsals and helping hand out flyers for their latest production. His enthusiasm for the arts was evident and Matthew found people who reminded him of his younger self which was a huge factor in his decision to support the charity through the donation of a new lighting system as well as arranging a theatre trip to London for the group. Long after filming, Matthew continues to have an involvement with the charity.
Matthew’s experience on the programme made it clear that it can take just one inspirational personal story to encourage an individual to get involved with a charity. His work with The Meningitis Trust would never have occurred if it wasn’t for Alex whilst his emotional investment in both Challenge4Change and MaD Theatre Company inspired him in other ways.
His Lunchworks talk will be a rare opportunity to hear exactly why Matthew chose to take part in the programme, what made him want to generously donate to the charities and how other charities could better attract high profile supporters.