Shocked friends of avalanche victim Tom Chesters offered counselling at University of Hull
FRIENDS and tutors of avalanche victim Tom Chesters at the University of Hull are being offered counselling to help them deal with their shock.
Student Mr Chesters, 28, was among four climbers swept 1,000ft to their deaths on Saturday afternoon near Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands.
Frances Owen, registrar and secretary at the Cottingham Road university, said students and staff were being supported.
She said: "Students and staff who worked closely with Tom have been contacted and offered counselling.
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"It came as an enormous shock when we heard what had happened and our thoughts are with his family."
A member of staff at the university, who has asked not to be named, was part of the eight-strong walking group, but took a different route on the mountain range.
Mrs Owen said: "Our understanding is that there was a second member of this university on the trip who was very fortunately not involved in this tragic incident.
"It was a privately arranged exhibition, not one organised by the university."
Mrs Owen said the university had not, in an official capacity, yet spoken with Mr Chesters' family who are believed to live in the south west. Mr Chesters was a medical engineering student and had focused his research on osteoporosis, a bone condition that affects mainly the elderly.
Mrs Owen said: "He was an asset to his research group that has been making excellent progress.
"He was well thought of, both as a colleague and as a friend."
Mr Chesters commuted to Hull from his home in Leeds.
A joint statement issued by Professor Michael Fagan and Dr Catherine Dobson paid tribute to a gifted and committed student.
They said: "Tom was a fantastic colleague and friend with so much energy and enthusiasm for everything he did.
"He was a real asset to our research group and was making great progress with his PhD research into osteoporosis. He had a very promising career ahead of him.
"We will all miss him enormously.
"As you can no doubt imagine, this is a very difficult time for those staff and students who worked with and knew Tom.
"At this very early stage following the incident, no arrangements have been made for any memorial services at the university, and we will be liaising with Tom's family about how best to proceed."
Northern Constabulary have named the other victims as doctors Una Finnegan, 25, of Co Antrim, and Rachel Majumdar, 29, of North Yorkshire, and PhD student Christopher Bell, 24, of Lancashire.
A 24-year-old woman, who has not been named, from the Durham area, was taken to hospital with serious head injuries. She was said to be in a "critical" condition in hospital last night.