A NEIGHBOUR of two York men killed in the Alps avalanche has paid tribute.

Paul Johnson, a police officer with North Yorkshire Police, said there was widespread sadness in Pear Tree Avenue, Poppleton, where both Steve Barber and John Taylor lived with their families.

Mr Barber and Mr Taylor were among the three Britons killed in the avalanche yesterday morning, in the Mont Blanc Massif. They were fundraising for St Leonard's Hospice in York.

Mr Johnson said today: "While there is a certain sadness about all of this, clearly they were doing it for the most noble causes.

"Everybody in the street is extremely saddened by what has happened and our thoughts are with Karine Taylor and Donna Rogers and their families.

"We all moved into the street at different times but our children all grew up together.

"I am not sure it has sunk in with everybody yet, because the news is still so fresh."

Richard Norton, a friend of Steve Barber's, said: "He was just the nicest, quietest person and had a really dry sense of humour - he might not say much, but when he did, it was always really witty.

"A group of about 12 of us used to go out and I saw him about a month ago. One thing I remember about him was that he was always so smart - it was effortless for him - and he also never seemed to get any older.

"I could not believe it when I heard the news and my thoughts go out to his family."

Peter Hawkins, chairman of Upper Poppleton Parish Council, said: "It is a huge shock for the whole community - it just stuns you.

"You see the television coverage of a tragedy like this unfolding and you never imagine for one minute that people who live just around the corner will be caught up in it. It is especially tragic for the children, some of whom will have just finished performing in their school play, and for this to happen just after that makes it all worse.

"People in Poppleton will, I'm sure, offer support where they can and where it is needed. I am sure the partners of the men who have died will be members of local organisations as there is so much going on in this community, and I don't doubt they will be given the support of neighbours and other people in the village."

Maria Dixon, secretary of York Mountaineering Club, said neither Mr Barber nor Mr Taylor were members of the club, but said: "We would like to extend our condolences to their family and friends following this sad news."

More to follow...