A York hospice has seen a dramatic increase in donations after the death of two climbers who were fundraising for the site.
Steve Barber and John Taylor, both from York, were among nine people killed in an avalanche near the French ski resort of Chamonix last Thursday.
The pair were raising money for St Leonard's Hospice whilst on their trip. Since their deaths, hundreds of people have donated money to the cause. Donations have reached almost £4,500.
Janet Morley, a fundraiser for St Leonard's Hospice, said: "Very touched that people have reacted in this way.
"Our telephones yesterday were ringing constantly. People wanting to support because they'd read the sad news, and knew that Steve and John were climbing and were raising money for St Leonard's Hospice.
"These are people that didn't know them, and didn't necessarily know St Leonard's particularly well. So it's very humbling."
A memorial service will be held at a French ski resort today in honour of nine climbers killed in an avalanche.
In total, 28 people were caught in the avalanche near Chamonix, including Steve Barber and John Taylor. Both men, from York, were among those that died in the tragedy on Thursday.
The service is taking place at a church in Chamonix.
“As might be expected, the family and I are all devastated at the loss of Steve and his close friend John.
“Steve has lived in Poppleton most of his life. His parents ran the village Post Office before retiring several years ago.
“He always wanted to climb Mont Blanc, an ambition that this trip was to fulfil. He had been training hard for the ascent and had successfully completed several challenging climbs in Europe and in the UK prior to this trip.
“Steve was a Company Finance Accountant with a Leeds-based finance company.
“The family wish to express their sincere thanks to the Mountain Rescue teams who tried so hard to save John and Steve.
“The family also wish to thank friends and close family who have been so supportive.
“They would also like to thank the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
Sarah Kelly reports.
John’s wife Karine Taylor said:
“We are all truly devastated about this loss.
“John always had a keen interest in outdoor activities taking up mountaineering in 1998 and was a highly regarded and very active member of mountain rescue teams himself.
“John had climbed several challenging mountains across the world, including Mont Blanc on two previous occasions.
“He was a highly respected climber and this event represents a significant loss to the UK climbing community. “In his personal life, John was a finance director, working within the public and private sectors.
“He will be sadly missed by his work colleagues.
“The family would like to pay tribute to the Mountain Rescue teams based in France and elsewhere that tried to save John and his good friend Steve.
“They would also like to thank the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the assistance offered and provided at this time.” John, originally from Manchester, moved to Poppleton in 2003.
He leaves behind his wife Karine and his two daughters, Emma (10) and Louise (8).
John Taylor and Steve Barber were raising money for St Leonard's Hospice in York.
Janet Morley, the director of fundraising gave this tribute.
– Janet Morley, director of fundraising, St Leonard's Hospice
"In May, St Leonard’s heard from his partner Donna that Steve Barber intended to do an ice-climb on Mont Blanc and had chosen to raise funds for St Leonard’s Hospice in York as an important local charity.
"We are devastated to hear of Steve’s death and the deaths of John Barber and Roger Payne, as well as of the other victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends today."