Stewie and Paula Matthews (centre) with sons Matthew, Jacob and Owen and Holly Castles at Brandon’s 21st birthday.
Stewie and Paula Matthews (centre) with sons Matthew, Jacob and Owen and Holly Castles at Brandon’s 21st birthday. Luka Kauzlaric

Always 18, murdered teen's legacy lives on

BRANDON Matthews never got to celebrate his 21st birthday. But the lad's big milestone was celebrated in style on the weekend.

Murdered at the age of 18 on January 8, 2012, in Ipswich, Brandon was honoured at the PCYC on Saturday by friends and family.

The special celebration was a result of weeks of planning, contributions from local businesses and a selfless devotion by friends, family and strangers.

His mum Paula was overwhelmed by the support of Gladstone during her difficult journey.

"The way I see it, this is my chance to celebrate all of the events I will miss out on celebrating with Brandon," Mrs Matthews said.

"This is not only his 21st, but his engagement, wedding and all of those special events."

A fundraiser for the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group (QHVSG), 150 people attended the vent.

Many travelled significant distances to pay tribute to a loving, gentle and kind young man whose life was taken far too early.

The group of five call themselves "The Misfits" and have adopted nicknames for one another.

Out of the darkness, these women have provided each other with rays of sunshin .

Wendy 'Weggy' Sloan said it meant the world to the women to be able to attend.

"We have formed lifelong friendships after each losing children to violence," she said.

"There's no way we would have missed today. We wouldn't have let her go through this alone."

Ross Thompson and Elaine Henderson arrived in Gladstone by plane on Saturday to attend the fundraiser,.

Mr Thompson said the event was a superb demonstration of community from Gladstone.

"It is beautiful to see Gladstone rally behind this family and our group," he said.

"This event has been a long time in the making."



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