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Manchester Arena’s Matt Ward passes

Matt Ward, the well-liked and widely respected head of event marketing and PR for Manchester Arena, has passed away after losing a two-year battle with cancer. He was 45.

Ward, who died on 2 May 2019, joined the arena, then called Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena, in 2006, and had been in his current role since 2016. He is survived by his wife, and two young children.

In a letter to staff announcing Ward’s passing, arena GM James Allen paid tribute to his sense of humour and creativity, as well as his compassion and sensitivity, especially in “challenging times”, alluding to 2017’s terrorist attack.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that our colleague and friend Matt Ward has died from cancer,” he wrote. “Our sincere condolences go to his wife, young children and the rest of his wonderful family. He will be greatly missed by all at Manchester Arena and across the wider SMG team.

“Matt will be greatly missed by all at Manchester Arena and across the wider SMG team”

“Matt joined the arena in 2006 [after] demonstrating exceptional marketing and communications skills honed during his tenure at Alton Towers and the Ambassador Theatre Group. He was promoted to head of event marketing and public relations in 2016, and was a hugely integral part of the successful senior management team, loved by all his colleagues and the larger community he came into contact with.”

Allen tells IQ he has received “some wonderful tributes on behalf of his family from right across our industry”, which “only confirmed” how highly thought of Ward was.

“Matt was a fantastic communicator who combined a unique sense of humour with an impressive creative streak that ensured his marketing and communication campaigns stood out from the rest,” continues Allen.

“He worked with skill, sensitivity and compassion, so that during our more challenging times, all output was managed for the benefit of not only the arena, but also for the SMG Europe group.”


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