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Thousands donated to Young Minds Trust in memory of Whitstable train death teenager Joe Pickhaver

By Joe Wright

The parents of a teenager who was killed on a railway line have spoken of their gratitude after thousands of pounds were raised for charity in a matter of weeks.

More than £34,000 has been generated for the mental health charity Young Minds Trust – with hundreds of people being touched by the tragic death of 16-year-old Joe Pickhaver.

His mother Caroline and father Chris, of Wave Crest, Whitstable, have thanked the community for backing the trust.

Joe Pickhaver

They said: “The charity is fantastic at helping young people struggling with depression or other mental health issues and it should be more well known.

“We wish we had known of it beforehand – but hopefully this fundraising has increased people’s awareness of it. We are not avid fundraisers but it’s just that loads of people have supported us and we have more than doubled our original target of £16,000.”

Joe, who was a pupil at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Faversham, was hit by a train close to Joy Lane on Saturday, December 10.

“The support from the town has been fantastic,” they added.

“The Duke of Cumberland cancelled plans at their busiest time of the year to accommodate the wake, and the Windy Corner Stores and Spoonweb DVD Hire closed for the day so their staff could attend the funeral. At the East Kent in Oxford Street, hundreds of pounds were raised.

Joe Pickhaver, 16, was killed when he was hit by a train in Whitstable.

“We must know someone who drinks there but we don’t even know the people who run the pub – what a great gesture.

“Our postman donated his Christmas bonus and Essex Street Garage donated the cost of our MOT – there really have been loads of contributions.”

As well as the online JustGiving page, there are also collection boxes throughout the town.

The couple added: “Overall we just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated. No matter the amount, whether it be 2p or £100, it is a lovely gesture.

“We will never be able to thank the community enough.”

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