FAMILY and friends of a man who jumped to his death from Thornton Viaduct because he hated how he looked want to rally more support for others affected by the obsessive mental disorder they say claimed his life.

Paul Exley hopes by telling his brother's story, more help and understanding will become available for people with the body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) that he blames for the devastating tragedy.

December 15 last year changed the Exley family's lives forever when police, out searching for 33-year-old Chris Exley, found his body under the viaduct not far from where he lived with his mum Sue, 61, in Leaside Drive, Thornton.

Although his shocking death marked the end of his 15-year-battle with depression and BDD, it was the start of a new fight by his family to gain wider recognition for the disorder - not just by the public but also by health professionals.

The family is getting support from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, a small London-based charity, but hopes to help spread its work to Bradford and other parts of the country.

As a fundraiser, they are organising a charity night at The New Tyke, Thornton Road, on Friday, September 26 - in the form of a Phil Collins tribute night with Stars In Their Eyes 2005 winner Rob Lewis.

One of the event's main organisers is Chris's boss Louise Nicol, who worked with him on the admin side of West Yorkshire Police's Prosecution Team for ten years and knew how much he idolised Phil Collins.

"He called him a legend. He idolised him so we thought a Phil Collins night would be a fitting tribute to Chris himself. He was such a fantastic guy. We miss him at work," said Mrs Nichol, who spoke at his funeral on Christmas Eve attended by hundreds of people.

Last month a Bradford inquest heard how mental health workers had missed opportunities to increase support for Mr Exley, whose family put on record at the time they felt they had been let down by Bradford District Care Trust, whose care he was in.

Despite numerous attempts to take his own life, including two attempts the day before his death and numerous assessments by mental health professionals, the Trust never deemed Mr Exley appropriate for sectioning under the Mental Health Act because there was no evidence of psychosis. Mr Exley, who also had severe eczema, had a history of going to Thornton viaduct but was not pressed what he did there or what his intentions were by his community psychiatric nurse.

His brother Paul described living with Chris and his BDD as a nightmare.

He said: "We were desperate for help but there was nowhere to get it, for us or him. We Googled his symptoms and diagnosed his BDD ourselves in 2010 - it took health professionals three more years to make it official."

And he added: "We think a bad ending of a difficult relationship with a girl when he was 18 started his problems. His world just got darker and darker. He would barricade himself in his bedroom with the curtains shut, would not eat or be with us. He cut himself of from us.

"We tried to help and talk but could not change anything. He believed he was ugly. He wasn't ugly but it was real to him. It's not a vanity thing, BDD is a serious mental illness which robbed us of him."

Chris had wanted to go to Dignitas in Switzerland to end his life, he had researched it on his computer and other ways to take his life, his brother said: "He started clearing his history after a while but I saw it and it was terrifying, the stuff he had been looking at. We will never get over losing Chris, all we can do now is shout and be heard to get BDD better recognised. We couldn't save Chris but maybe we can help save someone else."

Minnie Iris from the BBD Foundation said: "Chris's story is heartbreaking. Sadly it's one we hear a lot. We are a tiny charity, we're the only one for BDD worldwide. So much help is needed, we'd love to see a network of local support groups set up. BDD is treatable."

A spokesman for Bradford District Care Trust said it did not have an expert in BDD: "Although the Trust provides care for people of all ages who have mental health needs, we are not a specialist centre for the treatment of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)."

But added: "Some of the recommended treatments for BDD such as talking therapy, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are available at the Trust."

The only specialist treatment BDD centre is in London.