Family lead tributes to popular Colchester Take Me Out contestant Charlie Watkins, 22

Tributes have been paid to 22-year-old Charlie Watkins, who died in March. Picture: Wisdom Makubile/

Tributes have been paid to 22-year-old Charlie Watkins, who died in March. Picture: Wisdom Makubile/ShotbyWizPhoto - Credit: Archant

The devastated family of a “very special” 22-year-old from Colchester who killed himself last month have led tributes to him as a fundraising page set up in his memory reaches £10,000.

Charlie Watkins, who died last month. Picture: York University Students' Union

Charlie Watkins, who died last month. Picture: York University Students' Union - Credit: Archant

Charlie Watkins, who studied criminology at the University of York, took his own life in March after battling mental health issues since losing his mother at the age of nine.

His family – which includes twin brother Harry – said Charlie never recovered after she died.

“We have lost a very special young man who sadly never recovered from the tragic loss of his mother when he was only nine years old,” they said.

“Tragically this is another example of the mental health issues suffered by young people today as highlighted by the Heads Together campaign supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.”

https://twitter.com/PaddyMcGuinness/status/855840084813336576

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They paid a further tribute to the 22-year-old in an announcement published in The Telegraph, which read: “Charlie beloved son to Tim and the late Sarah Watkins and twin brother to Harry, tragically taken from us on Monday 13 March.”

An online fundraising page set up in his memory has already collected more than £11,000 for mental health charity Mid and North Essex Mind.

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Friends and family members have left hundreds of messages to remember Charlie on the page.

One said: “In memory of Charlie. You are at peace with your mum – you will be so missed.”

Posting on Facebook, Harry shared a picture of the pair shortly after Charlie’s death.

Captioning the photo, he wrote: “Words cannot express my feelings, but I feel this picture sums us up perfectly.”

Also known as Chaz Man, Charlie had been an activities officer at the University of York’s student’s union, and a member of the lacrosse team.

The former Uppingham School pupil starred in an episode of Take Me Out on Saturday night filmed before his death.

Host Paddy McGuinness dedicated the show, which saw Charlie win a trip to Tenerife, to the young student who he described as a “fantastic lad”.

Tweeting after the episode aired, he said: “Tonight’s Take Me Out is in memory of Charlie. A fantastic lad who I’m sure will be greatly missed by his wonderful friends & family. RIP.”

Donate to Charlie’s memorial page here.

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