HUNDREDS of people gathered at a candle-lit vigil in Gloucester Park on Monday evening to remember much-loved Basildon man Gary Billings.
Friends, family, and well-wishers paid their respects to Gary, whose body was found last week.
There has been an outpouring of grief following his death, with Gary remembered as a proud father of Isla, as well as a committed football fan who followed West Ham United home and away.
The vigil was organised by Gary’s family, with many people lighting candles or laying flowers.

Echo: Vigil for Gary - Candle lit and flowers laid.Vigil for Gary - Candle lit and flowers laid.

Leon Hyde, an old school friend, said it showed how loved Gary was. He told the Echo: “There were hundreds of people that had come out for Gary, it looked like most of Basildon had turned up at some point.
“We want to celebrate Gary, as that was what he was like and what Gary would have wanted. We wanted to celebrate his life, he wouldn’t want us moping around – I know it.
“I wasn’t surprised at how many people turned out because anyone you speak to knew Gary in some way. He was a much-loved man not just Basildon but across Essex.
“This event was needed to help us as it has been tough, and it brought everyone all together.”
Gary, 37, was found in Basildon last week, four days after he was reported missing.
Basildon residents took to the Gary Billings tribute page on Facebook to pay respects from the vigil.
Claire Busby posted: “The most amazing vigil for our Gal. Thank you to everyone that came, those that lit candles at home or were thinking of him.”
Debi Stefanii Marie Stripe added: “Went back down today, some candles were still going! Beautiful vigil for Gal. Rest easy.”
Tyra-leigh Crabb posted “RIP Gary, fly high you hammer. You were so loved, sending all my love to the family”.
Samantha Curry contributed: “You will be missed by so many! What an amazing turnout! You are so loved gal! Xxxx”
David Bamber Broad posted photos of everyone gathering round and lighting candles, with the caption: “No words needed”.