HUNDREDS turned out for a touching memorial service for the late Chris Nota, who died last week at Queensway bridge, in Southend.

Friends and family of Chris, 19, gathered at Priory Park for the 'Make Some Music for Chris' memorial, to share memories and remember the "kind" and "caring soul" he was.

Many who did not know him personally came along to say a few words, some of whom had suffered with mental health issues themselves.

Several speeches were made, including one by Melanie Leahy - a mother fighting for seven years to find out why her 20-year-old son Matthew, died by hanging at a mental health unit in Chelmsford.


Melanie, said: "Just to see the amount of people who have turned out today in memory of Chris shows how much he was loved.

"It's heartbreaking

"He's another special soul lost.

"People are being discharged too soon without the community care being put in place and it has to stop."

During her speech, before everyone cheered, she said: "Your kids needs proper safe compassionate care and we are here to fight for it, god bless you Chris."

Chris' mum, Julia Hopper, had reached out to Melanie several years ago after facing similar problems. They have stayed in contact ever since.


Chris, who had learning disabilities and suffered with autism, had been in and out of mental health units over the years and mum, Julia told how she had been fighting for years to get help for her son.

Members of the special educational needs community also came along to pay their respects and support the family's campaign, including organisation, Southend SEND Parents, run by Julia and Maggie Cleary, who is also a friend of the family.

For more information on Southend SEND Parents, click here

To find out more about Melanie Leahy's campaign for Matthew, click here.