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Hundreds attend memorial service for York climbers Steve Barber and John Taylor
Steve Barber's long term partner Donna Rogers (left) and John Taylor's widow Karine Taylor leave St Everilda's Church, Nether Poppleton, after the joint memorial service.
HUNDREDS of people packed into an emotional service to remember the two York climbers killed in an Alpine avalanche.
John Taylor, 48, and Steve Barber, 47, both from Pear Tree Avenue in Poppleton , were climbing in the Mont Blanc massif to raise money for St Leonard’s Hospice when they and seven other climbers were killed on July 12, in France’s worst alpine tragedy for 12 years.
Yesterday about 250 friends and family crowded into St Everilda’s Church in Nether Poppleton and into the nearby Tithe Barn, where the service was shown on a projector.
Mr Barber’s godfather and uncle, Barry Hare, said: “Steve was a quietly spoken individual, good at listening, hardworking and possibly the quintessential Yorkshireman.
“He blossomed into a great father and a happy family man. He was very proud of his family.”
He said Mr Barber wanted to take part in the climb, which has raised £10,000 so far, but had told him he was frightened. “It’s a brave man who can conquer fear and go into a challenging territory,” he said.
Jan Bugaiski, paying tribute to his best friend Mr Taylor, said: “John is in my memory every single day; he has been with me since I was five and he has not changed.
“Let’s celebrate the life of John and remember the things that made him special. He became your best friend because he was so kind and so generous, you could ask him anything and he would do it for you.
“He was the quiet man, he was dignified, he was a great dad, he was a good person to know.”
Mr Taylor’s daughters, Emma, ten, and Louise, eight, and Mr Barber’s daughter, Francesca, ten – all of whom attend Poppleton Ousebank Primary School – lit candles in their fathers’ memory.
Mr Taylor’s widow Karine stood alongside Mr Barber’s long-term partner Donna Rogers, to read a poem sent to her by the widow of Roger Payne, who also died in the tragedy.
An excerpt reads: “Remember you not in a photograph. But in your smiling eyes and wild ideal. And yet, I would not pay a price too high: I would not think of asking you to change.”
Mrs Taylor said: “It’s too much like John and what I felt when he was going away. I would never change him and never tell him to stop because he was so happy to go.”
George Law said his friend Mr Taylor was a careful climber who climbed to live, not to die.
Mike Vest, a friend of Mr Barber for 26 years, said he was popular in the village and was a loyal and kind friend to many.
A private funeral was held at York Crematorium earlier in the day.
The service was closed with Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side Of Life.
The media attended with the families’ consent.