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Teenager who killed himself has achieved top marks in one of his exams

‘Bright’ A-level student, 17, who killed himself after revealing fears about how lockdown would affect his results in notebook achieved top marks in one of his exams

  • Matthew Mackell, 17, was found dead in Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells, Kent 
  • His family found some writing saying how worried he was about A-level results 
  • His father,  Michael Bond, has found out Matthew got an A in his Finance exam
  • If you have been affected by the content of this article, call the Samaritans on 116123 or see www.samaritans.org for details

The teenage boy who killed himself after writing in his notebook that he was worried about his A-level results has received an A in Finance. 

Matthew Mackell’s father Michael Bond found out that his son, who was in his first year of sixth form at Skinners’ Kent Academy in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, achieved an A in his favourite subject. 

Mr Bond said Matthew loved maths and wanted to become an accountant when he was older.   

Mr Bond told Kent Online: ‘It’s a bittersweet feeling because I’m proud and I congratulated him at his grave but I just wish he was here.

‘I don’t know about any of his other subjects yet.’

Matthew Mackell (pictured) achieved an A in his finance exam after he was found dead in Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, after writing how scared he was about his A-level results being affected by lockdown

The 17-year-old was found dead after he called 999 from a park on May 7 with police confirming that the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

His family later found some writing in Matthew’s notebook expressing how anxious he was about how his  A-level results would be affected by lockdown. 

Mr Bond said: ‘He was worried about his results and he was scared he was going to be in a dead-end job and he didn’t know where to go with lockdown. 

‘He lost his job too because of the virus and it all had a knock-on effect.’

As students across the county found out their GCSE results today Mr Bond is urging anyone who may not be happy with their marks to speak up and seek help.

He said: ‘My advice is go and sit with a teacher and talk to them because they are still there to help. 

‘Just because schools are closed doesn’t mean there’s no-one to talk to.’

The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) is looking into how police staff handled contact with the schoolboy who dialled 999 before taking his own life in picturesque Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells.

Police and paramedics went to the scene but he was pronounced dead.

Mr Bond said the last time he saw Matthew was when he asked him if he wanted his room hoovered before he left to go for a walk at around 9pm.

The 17-year-old student said not to bother as he would do it himself when he got back but he tragically never returned home.  

Speaking after his son’s death, he said: ‘I just can’t believe it’s happened. 

‘He left a message on his mobile phone screensaver saying: “Hi you’ve found me. Tell my family I love them and to be there for each other. I’m struggling through life.”

‘I knew he was a popular lad to be around, always making people laugh, but I’ve found out how strong he was.

‘He didn’t have any problems in the world but in his mind he had too many – especially with the lockdown.’

Speaking about Matthew’s notebook entry older brother Chris Mackell said: ‘He was writing about his feelings and that he wasn’t happy. It was quite dark. It wasn’t nice to read.

‘But I wasn’t aware of any problems at all. 

‘If anything I thought he was doing more than well with it. 

‘No one really thought that Matt was worried about that.’ 

Speaking at the time of his death Chris said: ‘Matt was stupidly successful at school. I was speaking to a couple of his friends and they were saying he was 100 per cent the brightest one out of the whole year.

‘He literally spent his breaks and lunches doing all his work and doing extra. But he was worried that he was going to end up in a dead end job which is stupid to think about, especially when he was doing so well.

‘I think he enjoyed school and was quite proud of himself.’

While still coming to terms with the tragic loss, Matthew’s family, who live in Tunbridge Wells are attempting to highlight how tough the uncertainty surrounding closed schools during lockdown can be. 

Chris, who does not want anyone to suffer in silence, added: ‘If anyone in school is worried about lockdown, don’t be. 

‘You can more than make up for what you’re missing out on now.

‘It’s not the end of your A-levels and it’s certainly not the end of the world you not being at school right now. 

‘Obviously people are stressing out about it.

‘I want to emphasise the mental health aspect and that help is there. 

‘You are not a burden on someone because that’s one thing Matt was worried about – having to go and talk to someone.

‘He felt bringing his problems to them would bring them down and be a pain in the arse for them.

‘A lot of his friends really can’t believe it. 

‘One boy was kicked out of the sixth form year because he wasn’t doing enough work and he was saying to me that it’s given him a kick up the arse to go back to school and do his A levels.

‘One girl also saw the email from the school so went up to her mum and told her she wasn’t 100 per cent so they sat down and had a word about it all which is lovely to hear.’

A fundraising page has raised more than £10,000 for Matthew’s funeral costs and to plant a memorial tree in Dunorlan Park in his memory

Matthew’s headteacher Dr Hilary Macaulay, who described the ‘great sadness’ felt by the Skinners Kent Academy community that the Year 12 pupil played such a large part of.

Matthew was in the first year of his A-levels before sitting exams next year, had been hand picked out of Year 12 to do a two-week work placement with an American investment management firm in London.

Dr Macaulay wrote in a letter to parents: ‘His father has asked that I stress to you all that, if anyone feels they need to talk through anything at all in their lives that is worrying them, to please talk to someone and not keep it to themselves.

‘We are aware that this will be upsetting for students at the Academy.

‘The particular situation we are faced with, both as a country and a community with schools currently closed, also makes bringing together our students at this time more challenging.

‘Academy staff are on hand as well as our colleagues from the Educational Psychology Service to ensure that we provide appropriate, ongoing support to those affected.

‘Our thoughts are with Matthew’s family and the whole Academy community sends them our deepest heartfelt condolences and support at this incredibly sad time.’

She also described the ‘very popular student’ as ‘representing everything that our Academy stands for and values right from the start of his time in Year 7 and relishing every opportunity as he moved up into our Sixth Form’.

If anyone needs help Fegans is a Christian, family-counselling charity, CALM is a leading movement against suicide and the Samaritans are available at any time.  

You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 at any time of any day.  

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