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13 July 2012, 09:43
Two Britons killed in a massive avalanche in France are named as York men Steve Barber and John Taylor.
One of the UK's most respected climbers, Roger Payne, was also among the nine people who lost their lives after being hit by a massive wall of snow yesterday.
The victims were killed as they traversed Mont Maudit - translated as Cursed Mountain - in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix.
Mr Taylor and Mr Barber were from the village of Upper Poppleton in York, a local councillor said.
Leader of the City of York Council's Conservative group, councillor Ian Gillies, who represents Upper Poppleton, added: “Devastated doesn't cover it, really.
“I'm sure the people in the village and the wider community will provide the support the families need, not only now but for weeks to come.''
Estelle O’Hara, headteacher of Poppleton Ousebank School sent this letter to parents today:
'It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that two of the climbers killed in yesterday’s avalanche in the French Alps, were parents from Poppleton Ousebank - Steve Barber, father of Frankie in Year 5 and John Taylor, father of Emma in Year 5 and Louise in Year 3.
'Our thoughts and prayers go out to both Donna Rogers and Karine Taylor who have both lost their life long partners.
'Children have been informed and school staff have been supporting them throughout the day, providing a caring shoulder and answering any questions that children may have.
'We would ask that people respect the families’ privacy at this sad time. We understand that the climb was to raise money for St Leonard’s Hospice and so we will be collecting on their behalf.'
Statement from Labour leader of City of York Council: Cllr James Alexander, Labour leader of City of York Council comments: "I am deeply saddened by the news that two Poppleton residents lost their lives in Thursday's avalanche in Chamonix, France.
"I would like to offer their families and friends my condolences and offer any support and assistance we can provide at this difficult time."