Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Memorial held for Alpine climbers

Steve Barber, left, and John Taylor were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps on Thursday

A memorial service has been held for nine climbers, including three Britons, killed in a huge avalanche in the French Alps.

Steve Barber, John Taylor and Roger Payne died as they traversed Mont Maudit - or Cursed Mountain - in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The other victims were three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss climber.

French authorities believe wind triggered the avalanche.

A memorial service was held at the Eglise Saint-Michel in Chamonix.

During the service, the name of each of the victims was read out and a candle lit for them.

Mr Payne was one of the UK's most respected climbers and former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC).

Mr Barber, 47, and Mr Taylor, 48, lived on the same street in Upper Poppleton, a village to the north-west of York, and both had children at Poppleton Ousebank School.

They were attempting the climb to raise money for St Leonard's Hospice in York.

The families of Mr Taylor, who was originally from Manchester, and Mr Barber both said they were devastated.