Leeds student among lost Brits

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A LEEDS University student with a “great thirst for life” was among the ten Britons aboard the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight when it crashed.

Rugby union player Richard Mayne had just finished his second year studying maths and finance at the university.

Originally from Leicestershire, his former headteacher at The Dixie Grammar School, in Market Bosworth, John Wood, said the school community was “devastated to hear the tragic news” of the death Mr Mayne, who had been a member of its title-winning rugby team and deputy head boy.

Mr Wood said he last saw Mr Mayne, who he described as “extremely pleasant and thoughtful”, just a month ago, when he talked “excitedly” about his charity fundraising trip Everest Base Camp earlier this year.

He added: “Richard had a great thirst for life and he wanted to make the world a better place. It is tragic that his life has been cut short, especially under these circumstances - he had such a great future ahead of him.”

Mr Mayne’s Facebook page features pictures from the Everest trip, which raised money for the charity Kidasha, which supports disadvantaged and vulnerable children in Nepal.

Writing on his JustGiving page, Mr Mayne said: “A BIG thank you to everyone supporting this cause and helping me to reach the £3,000 which will change the lives of so many children!”

The trip was arranged by Leeds University’s Raise and Give (RAG) Society, who tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of RAG member Richard Mayne on board MH17. Thoughts and sympathy are with his family and friends.”

A spokesperson from the University of Leeds said: “We are very saddened to hear the news that one of our students, Richard Mayne, is believed to be a passenger on the flight. Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends. Richard had just finished his second year in maths and finance and he was doing well with his studies. Staff are working with the University’s counselling service to help students who are affected by this tragedy and we will do all we can to support them.”

Ten Britons are now known to have died aboard flight MH17, Malaysia Airlines confirmed.

Glenn Thomas, a media relations co-ordinator for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, also died in the crash. The former BBC journalist from Blackpool, 49, was travelling to an international Aids conference in Australia.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said: “We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional. Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock.”

Newcastle United fans have left floral tributes at the club’s ground to two dedicated fans who also died in the crash.

John Alder, in his 60s, and Liam Sweeney, 28, were travelling to New Zealand to watch their team play in a pre-season tour. The club said both men were familiar faces at every United away game and attended reserve and academy matches as well as first-team games.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said that his players were “deeply shocked and saddened” by the news.

He said: “We all knew how passionately John and Liam supported the team and the club.

“They were with us just earlier this week for our first pre-season friendly against Oldham and their dedication to travel all the way around the world to support us in New Zealand tells you all you need to know about the passion they had for Newcastle United.”

Ben Pocock, a second year international business degree student at Loughborough University, was also among the British dead.

He was on his way to Australia to study abroad as part of the third year of his degree.

The university paid tribute to Mr Pocock, from Bristol, saying he was destined to achieve a first class honours degree.