World in Union for East Grinstead RFC’s Matt Ratana

As members of East Grinstead RFC try to come to terms with the loss of their friend and Head Coach, Matt Ratana, who was tragically killed in the line of duty in September 2020, No1 Classical Crossover artist Joanna Forest has recorded a poignant version of ‘World In Union (2020)’ to commemorate his life and offer a moment of reflection on a life well lived.

Joanna Forest, an award winning, multiple number one soprano has come out to honour Matt and to support Wooden Spoon Sussex Partner Club, East Grinstead RFC and the world-wide rugby community by recording a beautiful version of a well-known rugby anthem, musically arranged by the talented pianist and friend, Joel Goodman.

Supporting the upcoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year, ‘Unsung Hero’ Award nominations for Matt, Joanna Forest 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.”

Pianist Joel Goodman said:

Working on this arrangement has been an emotional experience. I really hope this song will shine a light on all Matt did during his life and highlight what a legacy he has left behind.”

The recording was produced at the Soundlab Studios in Loughton, Essex in the middle of October 2020 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.

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said:

“Matt Ratana represented the very best of our sport and will be hugely missed by those closest to him, including his club East Grinstead and the wider rugby family, as well as his police colleagues.  Public support has been immense and to see soprano Joanna Forest recording a version of ‘World In Union’ in Matt’s honour adds a new and welcome element to all the tributes made to a very special man.”

Matt’s partner, Su Bushby requested that the reflective and gentle song was played before it’s release during Matt’s funeral service earlier this week.

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 6 November 2020, click here.

East Grinstead RFC would like to acknowledge Lorna Harris PR, Absolute Label Services, All About Promotions and Push Music Promotions for their huge support, professionalism and generosity. Matt has earned the admiration of the world and his legacy will live on forever.