Church service for victims of alps avalanche
Published 14 July 2012
A church service is being held in Chamonix to remember the nine climbers who were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps.
The victims included one of Britain's most respected climbers, Roger Payne, former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council.
Also killed in Thursday's tragedy on Mont Maudit were Steve Barber and John Taylor, both from Upper Poppleton, York.
The two men were raising money on the climb for St Leonard's Hospice in York.
Mr Barber's JustGiving webpage had accrued around £300 in donations prior to the news of his death emerging, but has since passed £2,000.
His long-term partner, Donna Rogers, with whom he has a 10-year-old daughter, said: "The family and I are all devastated at the loss of Steve and his close friend John.
"Steve always wanted to climb Mont Blanc, an ambition that this trip was to fulfil.
"He had been training hard and had successfully completed several challenging climbs in Europe and in the UK prior to this trip."
The other victims included three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss.
The climbers were part of a group of experienced mountaineers on their way to Mont Blanc when they were hit by the avalanche in the early hours of Thursday morning.