Highlands hiker ‘died doing what he loved’

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Leeds University student who died on a hillwalking weekend in the Scottish Highlands.

The body of Graham Connell, 31, from Castleford, was recovered from a gully in the Cairngorms and was reportedly several miles from where five of his fellow hikers were rescued on Monday.

The group was involved with the Leeds University Union Hiking Club.

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Police are trying to piece together the chain of events which led to the group becoming separated and lost.

Officers will be speaking to the survivors to try to determine why Mr Connell was found so far from the others.

It is believed he may have fallen. The weather at the time was described by one rescuer as “hellish”.

Mr Connell was a graduate of the university, having studied physics in 2004 and obtained a diploma in higher education.

A spokesperson from the university said: “We are sorry to learn of the death of one of our former students and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

“We are working with Leeds University Union and our counselling services to offer support to students who have been affected by this tragedy.”

A spokesman for Leeds University Union said: “We’re sorry to have lost one of our committed and lifetime members, Graham Connell.

“Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Several people posted tributes to Mr Connell on social networking sites.

On Twitter, a relative of Mr Connell said he had died “doing what he loved – hiking on the Cairngorms with Leeds University Hiking Society.”

One woman said: “My daughter was on the trip and is devastated. She loved and respected Graham so much.”

A schoolfriend posted on 
Twitter: “Everyone at school loved you and you’re going to be greatly missed by everybody.”