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He may not have been able to attend but Matthew Newton's moving tribute at his father Bert's funeral proves his love

The grieving 44-year-old sent a message from New York.

By Maddison Leach
Matthew Newton has paid tribute to his late father and TV legend Bert Newton with a moving message at his state funeral in Melbourne.
The 44-year-old was unable to return from New York to Australia to attend the state service, which has been held at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, in person.
His absence was addressed at the start of the service, the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral saying: "Unfortunately Bert's son Matthew and wife Catherine were unable to join us as they are in New York."
Instead, Matthew sent an emotional person message he penned in honour of his beloved dad, which was read during the service by Peter Smith OAM.
Matthew Newton has paid tribute to his TV legend father. (Getty)
A longtime friend of Bert, he shared this beautiful letter from Matthew: "I am very sorry that due to the pandemic I cannot with all there to celebrate dad.
"Growing up I never really watched Bambi or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, or a lot of other kid movies you could name. I did not want to.
"What fascinated me were the movies that created that black and white glow radiating from the doorway of my dad's home office. That is where I wanted to be."
Matthew's letter went on to share a touching insight into his relationship with his father, from their bond over a love of showbiz to their shared taste in music.
He also touched on the behind-the-scenes moments that never made it to air, but truly defined Bert's good nature and incredible presence in the lives of those who loved him.
Matthew's sister Lauren attended the funeral with her family and their mother Patti. (Getty)
"Dad just wanted to pop the tension of an awkward situation and see another human being light up and laugh," Matthew recalled.
"I honestly believe that that was the thing, apart from his family, that made dad the happiest. It was his superpower and he always tried to use it for good."
He even shared one of his final memories with his father, writing: "One final conversation a few days before we lost him was different from the usual and we both knew it.
"It was never directly stated, but we just said how much we loved each other."
Matthew clearly inherited some of his dad's wit too, as he joked about his sister Lauren Newton's large brood while he sent his love to his mother, Patti, from afar.
A family photo at the funeral. (Getty)
"There is no lioness in the world who loved supported and cherished her lion as much as you did dad," he wrote.
"You two were a team, are team and even though your partner is not on stage anymore, the show goes on and you will be okay. Mainly because you will have Lauren's 97 children to take care of you!"
Matthew's sister Lauren was in attendance at the state funeral, arriving with husband Matt Welsh and their six children.
The family arrived at the service alongside Matthew and Lauren's mother, Patti, who held the hands of two of her granddaughters as she entered the cathedral.
Lauren and her family stayed close to Patti throughout the service, showing their undying support for her as she farewelled the love of her life and father of her children.
Patti Newton arrives at the state funeral honouring Bert. (Getty)
Though Matthew could not attend the service in-person, his presence was still felt as his father was put to rest.
He concluded his message with these parting words: "I am going to really miss jamming with you, mate. Here's looking at you, kid."
There was speculation about whether or not Matthew would attend his father's funeral when new of Bert's death broke on October 30.
The 44-year-old currently lives in New York, where the coronavirus pandemic is still a massive threat and has kept many people from travelling.
It would have been difficult for Matthew to book a flight home to Australia, and even if he did he would have had to undergo mandatory quarantine when he arrived in Melbourne.
That meant he likely would have missed out on attending the funeral in person even if he did return to Australia.
Some people speculated that Matthew would choose not to attend the funeral due to claims of an ongoing "rift" between him and the Newton family.
But mum Patti shot down those rumours just days after Bert's death, insisting there was no such "rift".
Bert and Patti with son Matthew and daughter Lauren as children.
"There was no rift. He's had many long conversations with Bert in the hospital and that was all fine," Patti told the Daily Mail before confirming her son wouldn't be attending the funeral in person.
"It's just the logistics of it all, and with Covid, and with everything else."
It was later revealed that a personal message from Matt would be read at the funeral in honour of his father.

For more on the life and legacy of Bert Newton, read more below

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