Funeral of teenager killed by polar bear ‘a wonderful tribute’

The parents of a teenager who was mauled to death by a polar bear said his funeral was a “wonderful tribute to his achievements”.

Aspiring doctor Horatio Chapple, 17, died after the bear attacked a group during a British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) expedition in Norway.

The funeral service, celebrating the life of the Eton College pupil, was held at Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire yesterday.

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His parents, David and Olivia, and brothers, Titus and Magnus, said in a statement: “We are so grateful for the incredible support, generosity and kindness everyone has shown to us.

“The service was a wonderful tribute to Horatio’s achievements in the 17 years of his life. We would like to thank all who made the service possible.

“So much love has been shown to us in the last few weeks and we hope that Horatio will be remembered for how he lived his life – full of love, hard work and kindness. We will always be very proud of him.”

During the service, Magnus Chapple performed, along with friend Nick Hampson, a song called Horatio, which he had composed in memory of his brother.

The service was led by the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, and Canon Precentor, the Reverend Canon Jeremy Davies. Ms Osborne said: “Horatio was an exceptional young man who clearly had an attractive spirit of adventure and bravery.

“His death is not only tragic for his family, but has reminded us all of the slenderness of the thread which separates life from death and the suddenness with which it can be broken.

“His funeral in Salisbury Cathedral celebrated his life and allowed us to mourn his dying, whilst also reminding us of the things which give us hope in the face of such sorrow.”

The service was a private event for Horatio’s family and friends and for those who wished to support them and to honour and remember him. At the time of his death, Horatio’s relatives said he had been “so excited about his plans to be a doctor” and praised his “amazing sense of humour and ability to laugh at himself”.

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His family, from Bishopstone, near Salisbury, added: “He was on the cusp of adulthood and had a clear vision of where his life was going.”

Four other members of Horatio’s party were injured in the horrific attack on the island of Svalbard on 5 August.

One of the expedition leaders, Michael “Spike” Reid, 29, was eventually able to shoot the bear and end the attack, but not before he was also set upon, suffering injuries to his face and neck.

Fellow leader Andrew Ruck, 27, from Brighton, Scott Bennell-Smith, 17, from St Mellion, Cornwall, and Patrick Flinders, 16, from Jersey, also suffered serious wounds.

Scott and Patrick had been sharing a tent with Horatio when the attack happened. Patrick suffered a fractured skull after the bear had his head in its mouth, but miraculously he escaped. Following treatment in Norway, the three were all transferred to hospitals in the UK.

Mr Reid and Scott were taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon. Scott was released from hospital just days later, while Mr Reid was only released on Tuesday following three operations.

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