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Published: 08:00, 25 March 2014 |
Updated: 10:10, 25 March 2014
The family of a father of three tragically killed in a crash while completing a fundraising bike ride have thanked all who donated - as the appeal reaches £65,000.
Speaking on Christian Smith's JustGiving page in aid of mental health charity Mind, his family spoke bravely of his fight against mental illness.
Christian Smith died during the charity bike ride near Chestfield, when he was in a crash with a blue Peugeot 206 at around 4am on Saturday.
He had begun his "Kent Epic" 248-mile trip round Kent and Sussex the day earlier.
On what would have been his 39th birthday, the statement says: "Christian's family and friends would like to thank everyone who has donated.
"Taking on this challenge was Christian's way of doing something positive to make sure that people facing mental health problems are not alone.
"The many messages of support and generosity of donations are a great comfort to us at this extremely sad and difficult time."
The message comes as two teenagers are released on bail until July following the crash.
A 19-year-old man, from the Herne Bay area, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
An 18-year-old woman driver, also from the Herne Bay area, was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess breath alcohol and causing death by dangerous driving.
Mr Smith had earlier written about his reasons for the mammoth bike ride.
He wrote on the JustGiving site: "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.
"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."
Donations have flooded in to Mr Smith's page, with the total money raised already far surpassing his target of £1,000 - reaching more than £65,000 by early today.
Nearly 4,900 donors have given cash to the cause.
Grieving messages were left by family and friends including Dan and Claire Calnan, who said: "I don't know what to say, we are in total shock.
"Christian, what you were trying to achieve shows the man you were xxx RIP."
Vicki McLaughlin said: "You were doing such a great thing for such a great cause, it's so unfair. RIP Christian x"
An anonymous donor said: "An incredible inspiration, such a sad loss. Rip Christian smith. My thoughts are with you all at this very sad time x"
Mr Smith would have celebrated his 39th birthday today.
In a statement his family said: "Christian Smith, of Boughton Aulph in Kent, was killed in the early hours of Saturday morning, while cycling to raise money for the MIND charity.
"Christian leaves a loving wife and three children.
"You were doing such a great thing for such a great cause, it's so unfair. RIP Christian" - Vicki McLaughlin
Both carriageways were closed for several hours as collision investigators gathered evidence, but they reopened earlier this afternoon.
Police are now keen to speak to a taxi driver who may have seen the crash.
PC Jamie Woodhams of the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "Information has come to light regarding a taxi, which is believed to have passed the scene shortly after the collision travelling from the Chestfield/Swalecliffe roundabout towards Whitstable.
"I do not believe this driver was involved in the collision but I believe he or she could hold valuable information for us and I'd urge the driver to contact me as soon as possible."
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