Published: 06:01, 25 May 2019
A woman who devoted her life to helping the homeless was tragically found dead in her garage.
Carol Pickup, who founded the Don Doel Foundation in her grandfather’s memory, worked tirelessly to provide food and essential supplies to Maidstone’s rough sleepers.
She was discovered at her Buckland Road home on Wednesday, May 8.
Her ex-husband, Matthew Pickup, believes she took her own life after a long struggle with mental health problems.
However, a coroner will attempt to determine whether the 41-year-old’s death was a suicide or not at a full inquest in September.
Paying tribute to his ex-wife, Mr Pickup said: “She was a very open, warm hearted, and caring person and spent a lot of her time looking after and caring for people.
“She spent her energy doing things for them and always found time for people less fortunate than herself.
“She has battled with depression and anxiety and was getting help but her life was complicated.”
The mum-of-two to sons Luke, 24, and Ron, 15, ran The County Town’s longest running soup run hosted every Sunday outside All Saints Church in Mill Street.
Don Doel had been feeding Maidstone’s homeless for over 40 years but after his death 10 years ago Carol continued the soup run and set up the charitable foundation in his name.
On top of her work with those living on the street she helped struggling families by giving them things they needed including household items, clothes and furniture.
Leslie Pilcher, who has been part of the soup run for the last 18 years - working alongside both Don and Carol, said: “She will be sadly missed by the community, she made a big difference to so many people.”
Marianna Poliszczuk, from Christian charity Mother’s Union who worked with Carol, described her as “superwoman.”
“Charity work was her calling,” she said. “She was an amazing woman. I don’t think she realised how much she was valued.”
Many have taken to social media to express their grief at Carol’s death.
“You helped me see a future beyond the problems I had been through and for that I’ll always thank you.” said one.