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Family thanks after cyclist's death

Friends and family of a cyclist killed on a charity bike ride have thanked donors who have helped smash his fund-raising target.

More than £66,000 has poured in to father-of-three Christian Smith's JustGiving webpage since he was killed in the crash.

The figure eclipses the £1,000 target Mr Smith, 38, had set out to raise circumnavigating Kent and Sussex in aid of the mental health charity Mind.

Relatives and friends of Mr Smith, from Boughton Aulph, Kent, said the donations were a "great comfort" at a "sad and difficult" time.

The fund-raiser died when he was in a crash with a blue Peugeot 206 car on the A2990, near Chestfield, Kent, at about 4am on Saturday.

On his JustGiving page, friends and family posted a statement thanking those who have donated to his fund.

It said: "Taking on this challenge was Christian's way of doing something positive to make sure that people facing mental health problems are not alone, and the many messages of support and generosity of donations are a great comfort to us at this extremely sad and difficult time."

Mr Smith had set out last Friday to complete his "Kent Epic" of cycling 248 miles (399km) in 24 hours.

In his last posting on his JustGiving page, Mr Smith, who would have celebrated his 39th birthday this week, wrote: "Oh crap what have I done.... 6 days to go. Birthday drinks in Kings Head on 29th March if I am still alive by then."

Describing his fundraising bid, he wrote: "This is an attempt to cycle the full 24hrs and the full distance, largely unsupported (because nobody is stupid enough to volunteer!). So there are no motorcycle outriders, support vehicles or hot chicks to wipe my brow.

"As much as this being a physical effort, it will also be a mental struggle, enduring a long dark night alone, knackered. Not to mention the long training sessions ahead of me to prepare."

Explaining his motivation, he added: "In short I want to support the charity Mind, raise awareness towards the great support that they offer, and help bring an end to the stigma that is attached to those who suffer from mental health problems.

"I have had my own misfortune to suffer from a spate of poor mental health, which was unexpected and has been a real 'game changer' in how I now view the future.

"It has been a tough road to get to this point but I have been fortunate enough to have the support of my family and friends.

"There are those who are not so fortunate to have the same level of support and understanding. They suffer in silence and are alone. This challenge is for those people."

He also posted: "If I get to £1,000 I will cycle naked around Wye!"

Two people have been arrested and freed on police bail over the death of Mr Smith.

A 19-year-old man from the Herne Bay area was held on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving a nd an 18-year-old woman was detained on suspicion of drink-driving and causing death by dangerous driving.

Witnesses or anyone with information who have not yet spoken to Kent Police are asked to call Pc Jamie Woodhams on 01622 798538.


From Belfast Telegraph