Tributes paid to former Newcastle student killed in avalanche

FRIENDS of a former Newcastle student killed in the Glencoe avalanche told how she “glowed” with life.

FRIENDS of a former Newcastle student killed in the Glencoe avalanche told how she “glowed” with life.

Dr Rachel Majumdar, 29, died alongside her boyfriend Tom Chesters, 28, classmate Una Finnegan, 25, and friend Christopher Bell, 24.

Another 24-year-old friend, from Durham, is still fighting for her life in a Scottish hospital.

The four climbers – described as “experienced” winter walkers who would have been well-equipped – were killed when a sheet of snow gave way on Bidean Nam Bian in the Scottish Highlands at 2pm on Saturday.

One man survived by leaping from the collapsing sheet and hammering an ice axe into firmer ground.

Dr Majumdar’s shocked friends said it was hard to accept someone with such a love for life has been lost. They described her as an active and adventurous woman whose infectious smile won her friends all over the world.

Lynsey Hetherington, from Low Fell, Gateshead, had known Dr Majumdar for 10 years. She said: “Rachel never let life pass her by for a moment. She would take a mountain marathon in her stride.

“Rachel achieved so much in her life and had such and amazing future ahead of her. Everyone who met her could not help but be warmed by her unforgettable, sunny smile.

“It is difficult to comprehend the gap that will be left in so many of Rachel’s family, friends, and colleagues’ lives following this tragic accident. I have never known anyone with such a love for life.”

Renee Attwells, 35, studied with Dr Majumdar at Salford University before she started her course in Newcastle.

“From meeting her it was clear she would do anything for a friend, whether she had known them five minutes or 15 years,” said Ms Attwells, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. “Her infectious smile was always on her face, and she had a great love of adventure.”

Dr Majumdar was a member of the Heaton Harriers when she lived in Newcastle. Club secretary Paul Inskip said: “She ran in the cross country races and was always very keen. She used to do orienteering with the North Shields running club, and we got the sad news from them. It’s a great loss.”

Ms Finnegan, from County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, also studied medicine at Newcastle University before moving to Edinburgh.

Dr Richard Hardern, honorary senior clinical lecturer at Newcastle University, said: “They were well-known, and much-loved, by many. Their loss is felt particularly widely and deeply.”

Mr Chesters, from Leeds, and Mr Bell, from Blackburn, were both PhD students.

The Durham woman was flown to Belford hospital in Fort William. She has been transferred to Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital where her family are thought to be by her bedside.

Northern Constabulary area commander Chief Inspector Derek Paterson said the woman sustained “very serious head injuries” .

Rachel achieved so much and had such and amazing future ahead of her... I have never known anyone with such a love for life



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