Matthew Bell to officially launch book at Belfast Central Library

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Former pro hockey player Matthew Bell will launch his memoir Second Chances at Central Library in Belfast later this month.

The book, released in December last year, tells the incredible story of Matthew’s battle with brain cancer and the gruelling recovery that followed. Once an international hockey player, Matthew's life was upended while playing professionally in Germany.

After enduring several surgeries and having to re-learn basic life skills, Matthew’s journey back to the pitch and the sport he loves was anything but easy.

In the book, Belfast athlete Matthew, 28, tells the story of how he spent six weeks in hospital in Germany and endured five surgeries before being flown home to Northern Ireland by air ambulance to start cancer treatment.

Matthew Bell (author) with Sian Cairns (Libraries NI District Officer).Matthew Bell (author) with Sian Cairns (Libraries NI District Officer).
Matthew Bell (author) with Sian Cairns (Libraries NI District Officer).

While away from home he stopped eating, talking and walking for seven weeks. Matthew’s parents were told by the consultant neurologist that he couldn’t tell them if their son would ever walk or talk again

Published by Belfast company Excalibur Press, Matthew’s book is now available to buy on Amazon as well as through their website.

Publisher Tina Calder said: “Matthew’s story is one of resilience, strength and absolute determination. It’s a beautifully open and frank account of his battle back to health.

“Second Chances stands as an inspiration to anyone who has an uphill challenge ahead of them. We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to publish this for Matthew.”

As part of Matthew’s journey and his determination to make his book available to those who need it he is generously donating copies of the book to libraries across Northern Ireland.

Sian Cairns, District Officer for Libraries NI said: “We are thrilled that Matthew Bell has chosen Belfast Central Library as the venue for an event to launch his new book.

“Those attending the event will have the privilege of hearing Matthew share his extraordinary story and thanks to his very generous donation, library members across NI will be able to borrow the book from Libraries NI.”

The launch event will take place at 4pm where Matthew will be joined by Excalibur Press founder Tina Calder who will speak to the former hockey star about his new book and the process of getting to where he is today.

Of the launch, Matthew said: “It’s lovely to be able to launch my book in the library where it was published.

“‘Excalibur Press helped streamline the process of getting the book printed and published and I’m excited to be launching the book in the same offices as Excalibur.

“To say I have a published book is hard to comprehend, but I’m glad to be able to support a wonderful charity with the proceeds.”

Sales of Second Chances will also support Friends of The Cancer Centre, a charity close to Matthew’s heart.

To book your place at the event email [email protected] or call 028 9050 9150. Alternatively, bookings can be made in person at the main desk.

To purchase Matthew’s book or for more information go to