Speech 15

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, before I begin I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t yet had the chance to meet. My name is Garry and as best man, it’s my very great pleasure and privilege to be able to say a few words about Matt.


Over the course of the next few minutes I will be taking you on the rollercoaster ride which has been his life to date, from being brought into our family as a part exchange deal, to being ginger, putting stockings on his head to extort money to giving a lot of old boilers a good servicing, it’s all here chapter and verse.


Now, I had a pretty great childhood. There I was at three years old, eating Lego, tipping food on my head and dribbling when my mum brought home this funny tiny ginger baby and told me he was my brother. It turns out she was right and from that moment on my life has never been the same, mainly because we’ve spent years trying to work out exactly where he came from. Our mum couldn’t remember the exact details but it seems likely that he was a makeweight in a deal for a fish supper back in the early 80’s.


However, despite looking quite short and ginger he immediately fitted in to the Flemming family due to a shared tendency of thinking you’re always right. The thing about short ginger people is they’ve always got quite a lot to say and most of it pretty controversial, and Matt took that to Olympic levels. On several occasions I was sent in to take a punch for him from the older boys he was winding up, but in return I did manage to get him…tangled in barbed wire, sliding through dog poo, walking home in his underpants, shot him at point blank range and also made him the only crew member of a raft I built…which sadly went down all hands on its maiden voyage.


This may sound like an older brother exercising his power over a sibling but in reality it was much more profound than that: I was training him for life. You see, I’d been reading his school reports and it was clear from the outset that Matt was no Stephen Hawkin. He could make people laugh, he was entertaining and the centre of attention – in other words all the attributes of a circus clown, but none of a person you’d actually want to employ. I thought if I could just make this little ginger snap a bit tougher he might have a future in the army. Luckily my strategy worked out – he survived being shot at by me and joined the army where he’d clearly be a lot safer.


Matt, enjoyed a very successful stint in the British Army and began by working with engines but thanks to a natural flair for fitness and exercise progressed to become a PT instructor. This provided him with an amazing opportunity to inflict the type of punishments I had meted out to him, on complete strangers, and he loved it. However, Matt was finely in tune with world affairs and sensing a conflict in the offing where he’d have to swap star jumps and early morning runs for once again being shot at…promptly left.


This left him with having to carve out a career but from the very earliest days Matt has always been keen on earning money and looking after himself. This began with his paper round and then milk round whilst he was still at school and once included a mild form of extortion as well. Thanks to a lack of a Guy for bonfire night, I dressed him up as one and tried to make him look artificial by squashing his head into a woman’s stocking. It was only when our neighbour attempted to jab my Guy Fawkes in the face with a fork to check its authenticity, that we knew the game was up, and ran.


So, realizing that none of these things would ever earn him a decent crust, and deciding that he couldn’t possibly live off the free ice creams from the local shop, he focused on something of which he’d had plenty of experience: getting his hands on old boilers and giving them a good servicing. He excelled in his job with British Gas and has now started up his very own company that, as the owner, gives him an unrivalled opportunity to always be right and tell people what to. And I’m pleased to say that it’s going from strength to strength.


But by far and a way the best thing that has ever happened to my brother is meeting his beautiful wife, Joanna. Joanna, I know I speak for everyone here when I say you look absolutely stunning, Matt is a very lucky boy and I’m just so happy for him that he’s met such a great girl to share his life with. I think it shows a generous and open attitude in life to fall for one of my brother’s chat up lines and unfortunately as you know by now he does talk non stop nonsense, so thanks for taking him on. But honestly, from the moment he met you he’s been fantastically happy – it’s like somebody’s given him the keys to the ice cream factory AND the custard cream factory all in one hit! Together with your daughter, my lovely niece *****, you already make a fantastic family and I know that this is just the beginning of a long and happy marriage.


Matt, you have always been a great brother to me, and thanks to your lively and entertaining spirit, somebody that many people count lucky to have as their friend. You’ve shown great resilience, determination and courage through the years to get you where you are now – not least the time you attempted to qualify for the Paralympics by cutting your own leg off. But seriously, I’ve always admired your approach to life and your ability to get the very best out of any situation. And from a personal point of view you’ve been a great support and help to me when I’ve needed it most.


I said at the beginning that the moment you came along my life changed forever, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.


All that remains for me is to wish you health, happiness and all the luck in the world.


Ladies and gentlemen would you please be upstanding.


To the bride and groom!

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