Happy, fun, a great friend and a skilful apprentice – these photographs begin to tell the story of the real Christian Palmer.
Chris’s friends want him to be remembered always as a young man who made a difference. And they have gone a long way to achieve that already.
Even while they are still in the early throes of shock and grief after his untimely death, they have crowdfunded a permanent memorial to a hugely loved young man.
Chris Palmer, 20, died after falling into the river from Ouse Bridge in York in the early hours of Sunday, July 10. He had been celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday.
Now there’ll be a bench bearing his name next to the river, after a Just Giving campaign raised hundreds of pounds in just a few days.
Chris’s friends and family have kindly shared some of their pictures of him
Had so many friends
It was Chris’s friend Jae Beavers who set up the Just Giving campaign in his memory. Already well past the £500 mark required to pay for the memorial bench, the fund hopes to raise £800 with the additional money going to Chris’s family.
Meanwhile another of his friends, Eve Stables, has set up a separate crowdfunding page to raise money for some flowers for the funeral in the shape of two of his passions – a motorbike and Leeds United emblem.
It didn’t surprise Jae that the money was raised so quickly.
“Chris had so many friends. It shows to me and to other people how much of a caring guy Chris was, to have gained all this support from hundreds of people. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
An apprentice builder for the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Chris had just gained his Level 2 bricklaying certificate. Why did he mean so much to so many?
“He was always to the point, was Chris. He’d never put himself in front of anyone else, he’d always think about other people,” said Jae.
“He was the guy who would be there for anybody. It didn’t matter who you were Chris would be there. Any kind of support he was always the go-to guy.
“He was always happy. He was always willing to live life to the full – and that’s what I’ll always remember about Chris.”
‘A gift from us all’
When he heard Chris was missing on the Sunday morning Jae dashed to the scene to join his other friends to see if they could help.
Tragically there was nothing they could do.
“It’s scary that, one second you see them, and one second they can just disappear,” he said.
The memorial bench will be placed on Dame Judi Dench Walk next to Lendal Bridge, a spot chosen by Chris’s mum because he loved going to Museum Gardens.
Jae is hopeful it can be in place before the end of the summer.
“We’ve all said that by doing this, Chris will always be here. Not only in the back of our minds, but now we have something physical – something that people even beyond our time would see and say, ‘a lot of people must have cared about him for this bench to be here’.
“I wanted people to remember how loved he was. It’s a gift from all of us to Chris.”