Tributes paid to teacher killed in avalanche on Ben Nevis

Tributes have been paid to a teacher who was killed in an avalanche on Ben Nevis.

Mark Bessell, 48, a teacher from Bristol, died climbing the north face of the mountain on December 30.

Police Scotland said a second man, aged 40, Mr Bessell’s climbing partner, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was treated in hospital.

Richard Uffendell, headteacher of Ashton Park School in Bristol, paid tribute to Mr Bessell as a “well-respected and long-standing member of our staff”.

“Mark was climbing on Ben Nevis and was caught in an avalanche. Mark suffered a significant fall and despite the efforts of mountain rescue has sadly passed away,” Mr Uffendell said in an announcement to students, staff and parents.

“Mark was a huge part of Ashton Park and he will be hugely missed, but never forgotten.

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“Our deepest sympathies go to the family and especially (Mr Bessell’s wife) Charlie, during this very difficult and upsetting time.”

Students and staff were being offered support.

“When the time is appropriate, we will work with Mr Bessell’s family on how we will remember the huge positive impact he had on the lives of all at Ashton Park School and Sixth Form, and all of south Bristol,” the headteacher added.

Police said the incident happened following an avalanche and the Lochaber mountain rescue team and a helicopter were dispatched to help.

Rescuers said a slide of approximately 600 metres occurred.

Due to poor weather conditions, it took eight hours to recover them from their position via helicopter.

Mr Bessell was pronounced dead at the scene.