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Carla Chacksfield 'sickened' by online comments after dad's death falling from M20 bridge in Ashford

The daughter of a man who jumped from a motorway bridge says she felt "sickened" by comments left online after his death and wants to make her dad proud by raising money and awareness of mental health.

Father-of-three Philip Mathews, 62, died from his injuries after falling onto the M20 from the A28 Canterbury Road bridge.

His daughter Carla Chacksfield found out her dad, who lived in the town, had died while she was travelling in India.

Carla Chacksfield and Philip Mathews
Carla Chacksfield and Philip Mathews

She has now set herself the challenge of completing a 10km run, walk or cycle every day in March to raise money for a good cause.

Carla says comments left online after her dad jumped from the M20 bridge left her feeling “sickened”.

The coastbound M20 between junctions 9 and 10 was closed for three hours on Tuesday, January 22, while emergency services dealt with the incident.

Officers briefly closed the road in both directions to allow an air ambulance to land just before 4pm, but Mr Mathews, a retired merchant navy officer, died from his injuries on the motorway.

Writing on Facebook, Carla said: “I saw many negative comments about how it took people over an hour to do a 10-minute journey.

The scene on the M20 in January
The scene on the M20 in January

“People had wrote that someone had jumped from the bridge yet again in Ashford and how selfish it was.

“When I was told it was my dad that had jumped, all of those statuses [left on Facebook] came back to me.

“I’ve never felt so sickened in all my life, for the lack of care and thought towards him and mental health.

“For all those people who wrote statuses and comments, for all those that sat in traffic and for all those who missed work, you got home that night but my dad never did.

“I’d sit in a million hours worth of traffic if I could save one life from suicide and help them on a path to recovery.

Flowers left on the Canterbury Road bridge
Flowers left on the Canterbury Road bridge

“What sickens me even more is that there’s limited help for someone before they get to the bridge and there’s limited services for people who are asking for help.

“It’s only now my dad is dead that we have people investigating, people asking questions and offering their services.

“I sent a text to my dad that week, Indian connection never let it send and I didn’t see, he never got it, he never saw it, he never heard me tell him one last time I loved him.”

Now Carla, along with her friend Hannah Guy, is preparing to walk, bike and run every day in March to raise money for Mentell - a good cause supporting men across the country.

She added: “We will also be wearing a 10kg weight vest every day to make sure we are really put through our paces.

“Last time I went for a run I got shin splints that lasted two weeks and I could barely walk so this is definitely going to be a challenge.

“I will be doing this for a local mental health charity which is just for men where they can get the support and talk when and where they need to.

“[I’m] making dad proud.”

To support this fundraiser, donate directly to the charity by visiting: www.mentell.org.uk

If you need someone to talk to call Samaritans on 116 123.

For support and advice, click here.

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