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Tributes pour in for Britons killed in Italy earthquake

Published 27/08/2016

Marcos Burnett, 14, died in the Amatrice earthquake (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/PA)
Marcos Burnett, 14, died in the Amatrice earthquake (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/PA)

Tributes to the three Britons killed in the earthquake that struck central Italy this week have continued to flow in.

Marcos Burnett, 14, and married couple Maria and Will Henniker-Gotley died following the 6.2 magnitude quake that struck early on Wednesday morning, which left 281 people dead and levelled three small towns.

Marcos attended Wetherby School in Marylebone, central London, and his headteacher Nick Barker told The Times he would be missed by all that knew him.

He had been the captain of his year's basketball team and was also described as "utterly charming, personable and engaging company".

Mrs Henniker-Gotley, 51, from Stockwell, south London, was a finance manager at The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts in Bethnal Green, east London, while her husband, 55, is thought to have worked as an IT consultant.

Jeremy Newton, the charity's chief executive, described her as "totally dedicated, meticulous and professional".

He said: "The whole team is shocked and saddened by the news of her death and that of her husband Will, who was also a staunch supporter of our work."

It is believed Mr and Mrs Henniker-Gotley owned a property in Sommati, a village about 1.3 miles (2km) from Amatrice and t heir two children, believed to be aged 12 and 14, survived.

Marcos and his family were staying with the Henniker-Gotleys. His parents, Anne-Louise and Simon Burnett, were both taken to hospital and their daughter also survived.

The tributes came as a neighbour told The Daily Telegraph how he rushed out in the middle of the night to try to rescue those trapped under the rubble with the light of his mobile phone.

Bruno Formicola, 50, said that having "heard cries for help in English from underneath," he managed to rescue two teenagers.

"Then there was a big aftershock and we had to wait. We started again, even though it was very dangerous as we were afraid the wall would collapse," he said.

The three victims' devastated families had earlier paid tribute to "the tireless work of the Italian rescue workers and hospital staff" as the Queen made a donation to support search and rescue efforts.

A joint statement from their families issued by the Foreign Office said: "It is with sadness that we can confirm the deaths of Maria, 51, and Will, 55, Henniker-Gotley and Marcos Burnett, 14, in the earthquake in Amatrice, Italy on August 24.

"Their families have paid tribute to the tireless work of the Italian rescue workers and hospital staff and expressed their gratitude for the love and support they have received from the Italian people. Their thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the earthquake."

The Foreign Office was providing support to the families, it added.

A state of emergency has been declared in the areas affected and aftershocks have continued to strike, including one of a preliminary magnitude of 4.7 on Friday morning.

The Queen donated an unspecified amount to the British Red Cross, of which she is a patron, to support the Italian Red Cross in its relief efforts, Buckingham Palace said.

Cornwall-based charity Shelterbox has sent a team over to Italy to assist with setting up accommodation for those displaced by the earthquake, while the British Red Cross has set up a section on its website for donations to be sent to their Italian counterparts.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, meanwhile, announced that for a month £2 from each Pasta Amatriciana dish sold at his restaurant will be sent to help relief efforts.

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