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Funeral tribute to bear attack boy

The parents of a teenager who was mauled to death by a polar bear have hailed his funeral as a "wonderful tribute to his achievements".

Aspiring medic Horatio Chapple, 17, died after the bear attacked a group during a British Schools Exploring Society expedition in Norway.

The funeral service, celebrating the life of the Eton College pupil, was held at Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire.

His parents, David and Olivia, and brothers, Titus and Magnus, said in a statement: "We are so grateful for the incredible support, generosity and kindness everyone has shown to us. The service today was a wonderful tribute to Horatio's achievements in the 17 years of his life."

During the service, Magnus performed - with friend Nick Hampson - a song called Horatio, which he had composed in memory of his brother. In it, Magnus said: "I never really said goodbye to you. I never really said that I loved you. But you know that we all love you." In a piece entitled "For Horatio" reproduced in the order of service, Titus said: "I will miss laughing with you, the endless banter."

Horatio's godfather, Harry Cunliffe gave the address, while the service was led by the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, and Canon Precentor, the Reverend Canon Jeremy Davies.

Four other members of Horatio's party were injured in the horrific attack on the island of Svalbard on August 5.

One of the expedition leaders, Michael "Spike" Reid, 29, was eventually able to shoot the bear and end the attack, but not before he was also set upon, suffering injuries to his face and neck. Fellow leader Andrew Ruck, 27, from Brighton, Scott Bennell-Smith, 17, from St Mellion, Cornwall, and Patrick Flinders, 16, from Jersey, also suffered serious wounds.

About 1,000 mourners attended the service, many taking shelter under umbrellas during a rainstorm which hit as they arrived. Other members of the expedition are understood to have been among those who attended the service.

At the end of the service, the coffin was carried from the cathedral behind a procession of the clergy. Horatio's family followed behind and stood on the steps holding each other as the white coffin decked in flowers was placed in a hearse.


From Belfast Telegraph