THE family of a beloved Essex bartender who died in Spain have raised enough money to bring him home.

Gemma Jeffryes, the sister of Ben Lloyd, has thanked supporters of the family's fundraiser to bring his body back to Essex from Spain.

Mr Lloyd, 33, died on July 1 when he drowned on a beach in Benalmadena when caught up in a rip tide.

The family set up their Just Giving page on Wednesday to raise £6,000 to cover the cost of flying Mr Lloyd's body home, and have now raise more than £6,600 a week later.

Any further funds donated will be used to go towards Mr Lloyd's funeral.

Posting on the page, Ms Jeffryes said: "A massive thank you to all that have donated. We made it! We can now finally bring him home.

"However, that money just covers his flight. We have raised the target a little now, to really give him the best send off we possibly can.

"Again, A massive thank you to everyone who donated."

Mr Lloyd lived in Harlow but also worked for the Lamb and Lion Pub in Westcliff. Before his death he had been visiting friends in Spain.

Local media reports from the Costa del Sol, where Benalmadena is based, stated emergency services were called to the coast on Monday at around 8.20pm with reports that he could not pull himself out of the water.

More of Mr Lloyd's friends have paid tribute to him.

Nick Freeman wrote: "In four days the target was reached, it really shows how much Ben was liked."

Kim Smith wrote: "I wish I could do or give more, my heart is broken. All I can think about is our 23rd birthday. I know it's just over 10 years ago, but I'll never forget that night out, one of my birthdays I'll never forget and it's one that I got to share with you.

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