A FUNDRAISING campaign launched in memory of a tragic teenager who drowned in the sea off Clacton has raised more than £4,400.

Ben Quartermaine, 15, from Clacton, died in the water to the east of Clacton Pier on July 26 after getting into trouble while swimming with friend Albert Caller.

Following his death, Clacton resident Lisa-Marie Thor launched the online campaign to raise money for Ben’s family to help with funeral costs.

The remaining money raised has been split between the Essex Air Ambulance and the RNLI.

A cheque has now been handed to the volunteers at Clacton’s lifeboat station in Hastings Avenue.

Lisa said: “I couldn’t begin to imagine what the family were going through.

“I felt that I needed to do something for the family and those involved in saving the life of Ben’s friend and in the search for Ben himself.

“I’m so thankful for everyone’s donations and to see that as a community everyone coming together with love and support for the family of Ben, which has touched the hearts of so many people’.

Dave Wells, lifeboat operations manager, said he was very thankful to the community for their generosity in the wake of the tragic event.

He added: “Even though I am immensely proud of the hard work and dedication of our fundraising team, there is something very special when a member of the community like Lisa-Marie independently raises funds for our life-saving work, as it feels as though we are truly anchored in the local community.”

Clacton RNLI’s volunteer crews were involved in the desperate hunt for Ben in the waters off Clacton Pier for close to 24 hours.

Coastguards, police, paramedics and the coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter were also called to the scene after Ben went missing in the water after getting into difficulty.

His friend Albert was saved by Clacton Pier staff, who managed to reach him with a lifering, and he was brought ashore by Clacton RNLI’s D Class lifeboat.