Hundreds rally to help family after tragic loss

Richard Dunk with his five-month-old son Jenson.

Richard Dunk with his five-month-old son Jenson.

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A community rallied to help a family after the sudden death of a beloved husband and father.

Richard Dunk, from Burgess Hill, died on December 8 after suffering a heart attack.

Richard, Sarah and Jenson Dunk with dog. Family selfie

Richard, Sarah and Jenson Dunk with dog. Family selfie

The 26-year-old, who worked part time at Fitz Gym in Bolney, leaves his wife Sarah and five-month-old son Jenson.

Sarah said: “Richard was such an amazing husband and such a brilliant new daddy to Jenson who is five months old.

“We were so excited about our first Christmas as new parents and looking forward to all the milestones ahead.

“Richard and I had been married for just over two years.

Richard and Sarah Dunk

Richard and Sarah Dunk

“We had so much fun together and I have lots of precious memories that I will treasure forever.”

Dustin Sussex, owner of Fitz Gym, started collecting money in the gym with the idea of creating a trust fund for the family’s newborn to give to him when he turns 18.

Due to the amount of people who wanted to donate he set up a Gofundme page and, within a day, it had already raised more than £3,000.

He said: “I am quite shocked about how many people have donated.

“It has just gone up and up and up.

“I came up with the idea for collecting money for his five-month-old so they can put it into a bond for him to use when he is 18.

“I think more than 250 people have donated.

“Originally I wanted to get £1,000 and now we have more than £5,000.

“We have had messages and donations from people I have never met.”

Dustin, who had known Richard for a couple of years, was shocked when he heard the news.

He said: “He was a proper family man.

“He was all for his family, his wife, his dog and his baby boy.

“We shut the gym that night. Everyone in the gym knew him because he did the evening shifts.

“As far as I knew he was fit, healthy and strong. It is one of those tragic events.”

As well as the online total, the gym had also collected more than £1,000 in cash.

Sarah thanked everyone who had contributed and was especially grateful to Dustin for setting up the fund.

She said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Dustin who so kindly set up the trust fund for Jenson’s future and another huge thank you to everybody who has so kindly donated to the fund.

“It means the world to me and I know that Richard will be so proud and grateful too.

“One day when Jenson is older I will tell him all about his daddy and the generosity of the local community that helped to build his future.”

If you would like to donate to baby Jenson’s fund visit www.gofundme.com/rvecxu64 or pop into the gym in Brighton Road.

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