HUNDREDS turned out for a touching memorial to a 19-year-old boy who fell to his death at Southend’s Queensway underpass.

Friends and family of Chris Nota gathered at Priory Park for “Make Some Music for Chris”, to share memories and remember the “kind” and “caring” teen.

Loved ones held up balloons which spelt out Chris’ name before releasing them into the air.


Balloons for Chris - Mollie Holmes, who started a petition for a cage to be installed over Queensway bridge made a speech

At the memorial, Chris’ mum, Julia Hopper, said: “It was wonderful. It was really healing to see everybody.

“When things were critical there was nobody apart from my friends, but it was the loneliest time one could ever have.”

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


Devastated - Julia Hopper had been fighting for years for help for her son

The mum added: “Things had gotten worse over the last two months but it felt like two days, there was just no let up, it’s like a tsunami that just takes over your day and you just get washed out n the tide and your head goes under and there nobody for miles.

“It happened in a split second for Chris - his mood just changed.”


Fighting - Melanie Leahy, who lost her son after he took his own life in mental health unit in Chelmsford, in 2012, is helping Chris' mum Julia with her campaign

Several speeches were made, including one by Melanie Leahy - a mother who has been 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 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.”

Julia had reached out to Melanie several years ago after facing similar problems.

They have stayed in contact ever since.

Members of the special educational needs community also paid their respects, including organisation, Southend SEND Parents, run by Julia and family friend, Maggie Cleary.