The family of Duxford man Matt Smyth, who died in an accident on the A1307 near Linton, has set up a charity in his name
The mum of a young father-to-be who lost his life in a hit and run collision – 18 years after her husband had also died in a motorbike accident – has launched a charity in her son’s name to help others affected by tragedy.
Matt Smyth, 25, of Parsonage Close, Duxfor,d died on August 29 when the Yamaha motorbike he was riding was struck by a delivery van as it pulled out in front of him on the A1307 near Linton.
Matt had only recently learned that his girlfriend, who lives in Haverhill, was pregnant with their first child, due on April 13.
The driver of the van, Ricardas Taraska, 23, of Pinder Road in Norwich, failed to stop and continued on the A1307 towards Haverhill before turning off and driving into West Wickham.
Police tracked down the van and then Taraska, who was imprisoned for 14 months by a judge at Cambridge Crown Court on December 3 for causing death by careless driving.
Taraska, who had admitted the charge at an earlier hearing, was also banned from driving for 31 months.
Matt’s mum, Louise and her other sons Max, who turned 16 a week after the fatal accident, and Andy, 27, have now launched the Matt Smyth Memorial Foundation in order to ‘help children who lose a parent in road traffic collisions’.
August’s tragic events came just over18 years after Louise lost her husband Darren, 30, to a motorbike accident as he rode home from his job at Stansted Airport.
Losing both Darren and Matt to motorbike accidents has triggered the desire to start the foundation, for which Louise says £5,000 needs to be raised before it can be registered as a charity.
She added: “I lost my husband 18 years ago to a motorbike accident as well, so it’s like a double whammy.
“That was an error of judgement on the road. There was no-one else involved.”
The charity will hold its first fund-raising event – a race night at the Greyhound pub in Sawston at 7.30pm on December 22 – on what would have been Matt’s 26th birthday.
“We are starting up a charity in Matt’s name,” said Louise.
“On the 22nd we have our first event.
“We are trying to give ourselves something nice to look forward to rather than just a day of doom and gloom, otherwise it’s just going to be very miserable.”
As a further boost to the foundation Duxford FC, where Matt’s uncle Steve Johnson is a coach, will be holding an over-30s v under-30s match on Boxing Day, with half the proceeds going to the charity and half to the club.
A chef, Matt had only started a new job at the Fox and Hounds, in Steeple Bumpstead, shortly before the accident having worked for a number of years at the Black Bull in Balsham.
Matt supported Liverpool FC and said Louise said the family received a letter of condolence from the club on the day of Matt’s funeral. It had been signed by manager Jurgen Klopp.
“It’s not very often I am speechless,” said Louise, “but I was. It was fabulous.”
Louise, aged 46, has described as a ‘joke’ the sentence given to Taraska.
She said: “It’s a joke. It is ridiculous. A guy got 18 months recently for flashing and this guy got 14 months for killing someone on the road.
“He will do four months more and get out because he’s done three months (on remand) already and that counts towards his sentence.
“Ultimately they only do half their sentence so he will be out before my grandchild is born.
“It’s just utterly disgusting. It really is insulting. It’s not a punishment.
“There’s no deterrent for others to go and do the same.
“He (Taraska) did stop apparently (after the collision). It came out in court but he stopped no more than 30 seconds to check the damage to his van but he didn’t even get out of the van.
“He would have had to have driven around the motorbike and Matt to head back towards Haverhill, so he would know he had not hit a deer.”
It had emerged during the court hearing last week that Taraska left the collision scene and drove to a nearby village where he parked up, called his boss and told him that he had hit a deer.
The accident happened at 3.17am and Matt was discovered by a passing motorist at 3.32am.
Despite the efforts of the paramedics who had rushed to the scene Matt could not be saved
A fund-raising pagehas been set up to raise money for the new charity.
Go to www.justgiving.com and search for Matt Smyth to find it.