Leighton Buzzard community’s ‘amazing’ response to train tragedy

Leighton Buzzard news
Leighton Buzzard news

The family of a 14-year-old boy who died on Thursday has been touched by the response of the community.

Matthew Humphreys died on the afternoon of Thursday, December 14, after he was struck by a train close to Leighton Buzzard train station.

Already, an online fundraising page for the Cedars Upper School pupil’s funeral has made more than double its original target of £2,000.

Karen Wigg, a family friend and organiser of the page, said: “It’s absolutely amazing. People just want to show the family that they care.

“In Linslade and Leighton Buzzard, there is a strong community and it’s times like these that it comes together.

“I’ve had some very moving emails and messages on Facebook from people.”

As of yesterday afternoon, the page had already raised over £4,000. Once funeral expenses have been covered, any extra funding will go to the charity Young Minds, an organisation that was chosen by Matthew’s family.

Mrs Wigg added: “Matthew was a lovely boy, he had such a contagious smile.”

The community of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade was left stunned after news of the tragedy broke last week.

Specially-trained family liaison officers are currently supporting the family as they deal with their loss. In addition, counsellors and nurses have been on-site at Cedars Upper School supporting pupils and teachers.

The Leighton Buzzard Observer has been inundated with messages of grief and condolences to the family via our Facebook page.

One woman stated: “This is absolutely tragic for the young boy and his family. My daughter was in his class. Everyone’s so shaken and shocked by this... It’s utterly heartbreaking.”

Another added: “I’ve not been able to stop thinking about this since I heard. My heart goes out to his poor family and friends, I cannot begin to imagine what they are going through. It’s just so, so awful.”

A former teacher also paid tribute to Matthew Humphreys, stating: “He was a wonderful boy, witty, intelligent and a real pleasure to be around.”

Several members of the family have also posted on the LBO’s Facebook page, thanking the public for their comments.

Cheryl Finney said: “That amazing boy is my nephew. Thank you for the kind words. As a family we need some time to come to terms with the loss of such a beautiful boy.”

Amy Jayne Humphreys posted: “This beautiful, incredible, smart boy was my cousin. As a family we would like to thank everybody for all their kind words and messages. It’s truly heartwarming.”

In a message sent out on Friday morning to all parents and carers at the school that can also be seen on the Cedars website, headteacher Steve Palmer wrote: “Following the tragic incident at Leighton Buzzard train station last evening, I have spoken to all Year 10 students in the school theatre.

“We have much support in place today for those students who require it - both internal with our pastoral team and the student support centre and also external with CAMHS, the school nursing team and trained counsellors. This support will remain in place next Monday, Tuesday and beyond.

“The police have asked that students do not visit the train station to lay flowers or other memorial items but that these should be laid at school by the tree outside reception.

“We thank you for your support at this difficult time.”

To donate to the fundraising page, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/karen-wigg.