UPDATED: Donations have been flooding into the Just Giving page of a Kent cyclist undertaking a long distance charity ride killed in a collision with a car in the early hours of yesterday morning, rising from around £3,000 on Sunday lunchtime to almost £40,000 shortly before midnight the same day, and the number of donors approaching 3,000.
Christian Smith of Boughton Aulph, near Ashford, was aiming to ride 248 miles in 24 hours through Kent and Sussex to raise money for the mental health charity MIND when the fatal crash happened at around 4am yesterday morning. It took place on the A2990 Old Thanet Way near Chestfield.
In a statement released through Kent Police, his family said: “Christian leaves a loving wife and three children. The family ask that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
Police say that the 18-year-old female driver of the vehicle involved, a Peugeot 206, was been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess breath alcohol. She has been released on bail until 26 July pending further investigation.
PC Jamie Woodhams of the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit commented: “We are continuing to appeal for witnesses to come forward. In particular, we would like to speak to anybody who saw the Peugeot travelling along the road prior to the collision.” He can be contacted on 01622 798538.
On his page on the charity fundraising website Just Giving, Christian explained why he was undertaking the ride:
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 outlined the task he had set himself:
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.
It is going to be a tough course with over 11000ft of climbing, 248 miles, all in 6 weeks time. The route forms a pretty red line around Kent, into Sussex and back up past Tonbridge towards Medway, across to Swale and home. In time for tea and a slice of cake.
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.
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Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.