THE avalanche which swept four climbers 1,000 ft to their deaths in Glencoe at the weekend claimed the lives of a promising young doctor and her boyfriend, it has been revealed
Rachel Majumdar, 29, who was a doctor at Harrogate District Hospital at Harrogate in North Yorkshire, was named yesterday as the fourth victim of the tragedy on the slopes Bidean Nam Bian.
It was also disclosed that Dr Majumdar had been dating Tom Chesters, a PhD student from Sidmouth in Devon, who died in Saturday’s avalanche alongside climbing colleagues Christopher Bell, another PhD student, and junior doctor Una Finnegan.
A 24 year-old woman from the Durham area, who survived the avalanche which killed four of her friends, remained in a critical condition in the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow last night. She is being treated for severe head injuries.
The sixth member of the group, was a man who survived the avalanche by using his ice axe. Neither has been named.
Friends of the climbing group said Mr Chesters and Dr Majumdar had been dating for several years and had “such a good future together.”
Sam Morris, 35, a friend who had worked with Mr Chesters as mountain bike guides in the Alps, said the only consolation in the tragedy was that the couple, who had met while studying at Leeds University, had died side-by-side doing something they both loved.
He said: “They were in love since they met in their first year of university. They were just so soft and sweet with each other – two people so at ease together. They were having fun making plans. 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.
All four of them were people with a bright future and all of them were committed to making a difference. It’s such a loss.”
Dr Rebecca Leigh, a consultant doctor who was a colleague of Dr Majumdar at Harrogate District Hospital, said she had been “one of the finest doctors” she had worked with.
In an emotional tribute, she said: “Rachel was a gifted and dedicated doctor, who was in the middle of her training. A very promising medical career has been cut tragically short. She was one of the finest doctors I have ever worked with.
“All the staff and patients who knew Rachel will remember her for her caring nature, with a smile and a friendly word for everyone.”
Dr Finnegan, 25, was a junior doctor living in Edinburgh while Mr Bell, 24, from Balderstone near Blackburn in Lancashire, was studying for a PhD in ocean mapping in Oban.
Mr Bell was one of the leading amateurs in off-road triathlon and mountain biking in Scotland. He was recently ranked within the top 15 at the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon, an endurance event that attracts entrants from throughout Britain and Europe.
Ben Thompson, a friend and former team mate in the Highlands-based Nevis Cycles team , said: “He was certainly a competitive character but didn’t have an aggressive character. He believed we were all in it together. We weren’t so much a racing team as a bunch of pals. ”
Another friend Kevin Whitehead, described Mr Bell as “an exceptional cyclist” and a “quiet unassuming gentleman.”
He said: “He was just getting better and better. He was big on mountain biking and getting into road biking and won some of the local time-trials. He was very, very good and he’d done some pretty major events.
“But he was a quiet, unassuming gentleman. He didn’t brag about his achievements.”