Victims of Alpine avalanche laid to rest

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A SIMPLE, moving tribute greeted mourners at a memorial service held for two Yorkshire climbers who were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps.

Sitting between photographs of Steve Barber and John Taylor, the four paragraphs of verse gave a poignant reminder to live life to the full as grieving relatives and friends attended the memorial event yesterday.

Joint private funerals took place at York Crematorium before the memorial service was held at St Everilda’s Church in Nether Poppleton, near York.

The poem said: “For it matters not, how much we own; the cars...the house...the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.”

Mr Barber and Mr Taylor, who lived in the same street in Upper Poppleton, had been making the climb in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice in York. They were hit by a wall of snow as they traversed a peak known as Cursed Mountain.

A third British man who died after being caught in the avalanche was Roger Payne, one of the UK’s most respected climbers and the former general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council.

In all, nine climbers were killed as they traversed the mountain in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix on July 12. The other victims were three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss climber.

Mr Barber, 47, a company finance accountant, was attempting to climb Mont Blanc for the first time. He had lived in Poppleton for most of his life, and his parents ran the village Post Office before retiring several years ago.

He leaves behind a long-term partner, Donna Rogers, a 10-year-old daughter, Francesca, his parents and sister Julie.

Mr Taylor, 48, who was originally from Manchester, moved to Upper Poppleton in 2003 and was a finance director. As well as his wife Karine, he leaves daughters Emma, 10, and Louise, eight. He had climbed Mont Blanc on two previous occasions after taking up mountaineering in 1998.