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Tributes paid to Ottery St Mary student Tom Chesters killed in Scottish mountain avalanche

By Echonews  |  Posted: January 22, 2013

Tom Chesters, from Ottery St Mary, died with three others in an avalanche on a mountain in Glencoe. Photo: Family Handout/PA

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A student from East Devon was one of the four people killed in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands at the weekend.

Tom Chesters, 28, from Ottery St Mary, was studying for a PhD in medical engineering at the University of Hull.

His long-term girlfriend Rachel Majumdar, 29, from Hoylake in the Wirral, Merseyside, was also killed in the tragedy, on Saturday afternoon.

Friends said the couple were looking forward to a “good future together” and had a shared dream of carrying out voluntary work abroad.

They were alongside PhD student Christopher Bell, 24, and 25-year-old junior doctor Una Finnegan when they were caught up in the avalanche near Glencoe.

The four, plus two others who survived the incident, were said to have been experienced climbers who loved the mountains.

The avalanche struck at about 2pm on Saturday as the group of friends made their descent on Bidean Nam Bian in Glencoe.

Mr Chesters, who was born in Exeter and was a student at Kings School, in Ottery, until he was 18, is said to have been one of Britain’s leading competitive orienteerers.

He had also been living in Leeds and was working towards a PhD qualification in medical engineering at Hull University.

The university said Mr Chesters had a promising career ahead of him.

Michael Fagan, professor of medical and biological engineering, and Catherine Dobson, Mr Chesters’ PhD supervisor, said in a statement: “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.”

Friend Sam Morris, 35, said the only consolation in the tragedy was that the couple died side-by-side doing something they both loved.

“They were in love since they met in their first year of university,” he said.

“They had dreams of doing voluntary work oversees together.

“Some of the comfort we have drawn is that these guys had been together to the end. At least they were doing what they liked doing.”

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