The family of Mark Halford, a 38-year-old head chef who died suddenly in the walk-in freezer while working at one of Cornwall’s most popular beachside bars, are paying tribute to him. That beachside bar is called the Watering Hole and it’s on Perranporth Beach in Cornwall.
According to the Daily Mail, both medics and RNLI lifeguards attempted to save and resuscitate Mr. Halford, but they could not do so and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The Daily Mail also noted that Mr, Halford’s “death is not being treated as suspicious and the family stressed nobody was at fault.”
His 61-year-old mother, Joanne Ballinger, spoke about him to the Daily Mail, saying: “This place is a family, they all hold on to each other. It’s very comforting at the moment because this isn’t what we expected.”
Continuing, she said, “Matthew was caring, he was a loving father, son and brother. He would put anybody first and help anybody he possibly could. He was a hard worker but he liked to play hard too. He played basketball for Cornwall. He was vivacious, full of life and you would always know when he was around because you would hear him.”
She then said, “We are still trying to process his loss. It doesn’t feel real and we haven’t heard anything about why so we are waiting for that. He was on duty with his chef friend Max just putting a delivery away, Matt had gone out to the chiller. Then Max just thought he’s been gone a while and went to look for him and found him on his back in the chiller. Bob, the owner, tried to do CPR and everybody pulled together to bring defibrillators but it was just too late.”
Further, she emphasized that he was a healthy young man, saying, “He was a fit and healthy man. He last went to the doctor in 2016. He didn’t smoke and had stopped drinking, he never took drugs, he was really fit and healthy.”
She added that the bar closed for the weekend but then opened for Mother’s Day (on March 19th in the UK) because Matt had been working to prepare those meals when he passed, saying, “It was very emotional for everybody, it was amazing and beautiful. The things the Watering Hole has done. My kids have been coming here since they were babies. It is comforting that if it was going to happen anywhere it happened somewhere he loved and was happy.”
Noting Mr. Halford’s long history of working at the Watering Hole, the Daily Mail also noted in its report on his passing that “Matt had worked at the Watering Hole – which is the UK’s only bar on a beach – since he was a teenager with brothers Jason, 41, and Lee, 42 and dad Mick. Between them they had clocked up more than 100 years of service.”
Mr. Halford, in passing, leaves behind his partner Becky, 29, and three sons Jaden, 18, Harlyn, 16, and Mekhi, 14. His son Jaden created a fundraiser, saying:
Hi I’m Jaden Cole, the eldest son of Matthew Halford.
The reason behind this Crowdfunding is to help raise as much money as me and my family can to help finish off the house that my Dad worked so hard to self renovate. The house was coming on exactly how dad wanted it to be and he still had massive plans but on Saturday 18th March 2023 me and my family received the tragic news that dad had suddenly passed away.
Life will never be the same without Dad. He was a huge character who you would hear from a mile away! The one person anyone could go to and he would give his all to help and support you; from family and friends to work colleagues, he always just knew the right thing to say. I cannot fathom the outpouring of love our family has received and this shows how much my dad meant to so many people and how many lives he touched.
Although we will have a hole in our hearts forever, he will never ever be forgotten. He has left behind a strong family who will always stick together and make him proud everyday. Thank you to each and every person who has offered love and support, your kindness will always be with us.
Featured image credit: from Just Giving Fundraiser
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