Air crash victims who planned adventure: Christian Wolmar reports on the Britons who died in the Kathmandu disaster

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The Independent Online
A POET, two women who had just qualified as psychologists, a hospital consultant and four instructors from the National Mountaineering Centre were among the victims of Monday's Kathmandu air disaster. A full list of British victims has not been issued but it is now thought that 36 or 37 Britons were killed in the crash.

Dominic Sasse, 37, a poet with two volumes of his work published, was working on a third which may have been lost on the flight. His wife, Mary, who has two children, said her husband was planning to spend 10 weeks at their lodge in Laxmi. She said: 'We set the lodge up five years ago. My husband's father was in the Gurkhas but he never got to see Nepal because it was closed until the end of 1953. They had an unspoken pact to open a lodge in Nepal, but his father died before they got to go out there.'

Kate White, 26, and Louise Peat, 32, were on a trip to celebrate finishing seven years of study to qualify as clinical psychologists. They had just completed their Masters' degrees at Leicester University.

Dr Alison Gourdie, 34, who appeared on the documentary Jimmy's when she worked as a casualty department registrar at St James' Hospital in Leeds, was another victim. Dr Gourdie booked her holiday to the Himalayas to celebrate her first senior appointment as consultant to the casualty department of Stirling Royal Infirmary, Scotland, where she began work in April.

A mountain guide, Mick Hardwick, 33, of Tregarth, near Bangor; his wife Sue, 28, a part-time instructor; another guide, Dave Harries, 33; and a part-time instructor, Alison Cope, 28, set off at the weekend on a two-month trekking and mountaineering expedition to Nepal. The chief instructor of the National Mountaineering Centre, Nick Banks, said it was a 'massive loss' to British mountaineering. Mr Hardwick and Mr Harries were planning to make an ascent of the south face of Annapurna.

Also a victim was an outdoor pursuits teacher, Brian Rollins, a friend of Mr Harries, who spent much of his time working with disabled young people. His girlfriend, Sandie Goodyer, had been due to travel with him but pulled out due to illness. Mr Rollins, a lecturer at Arden College in Northenden, Greater Manchester, was one of a group flying out to climb the 18,045- feet (5,500 metres) Tharpu Chuli.

The husband of Laura Strutt, 76, who had visited Nepal in each of the past five years and died in the disaster, said that he had been told that she was not on the flight. John Strutt, 77, who lives in Clwyd, said: 'I was shocked when I heard about the crash and I phoned the airline. Originally they said she was not on the flight that had crashed and I was relieved. Then they phoned back to say that she was.'

Among the dead were the Wilkins family, who were returning to Nepal for a second three-year stint after a year in Britain. Andrew Wilkins, 38, was an engineer and geologist who was seconded to the United Mission to Nepal to work for the Butwal Power Company. Deborah Leon, 32, was women's oficer for the Transport and General Workers' Union in Newcastle. Her colleagues described her as a caring person who fought for the underdog.

Pakistani International Airlines' general manager in London, Faqirullah Jan, said about 30 British relatives would travel on a scheduled flight leaving Heathrow today for Karachi, and be taken on to Kathmandu. All bodies will be flown home by the airline. Mr Jan said the airline could not issue names as relatives had asked for information to be kept confidential.

A full list of British victims has not been issued but 35 people, one of whom is thought to have been a New Zealander, bought tickets in Britain and a further two are thought to have joined the flight at Karachi. British victims known so far: Andrew, 38, and Helen Wilkins, 36, missionaries, and children, Hannah, 10, Naomi, 8, and Simeon, 6, originally from Peterborough; Sharon Duhig, 28, ski-instructor, west London, and Chris Budgett, 26, Lyme Regis, Dorset; Mick Hardwick, 33, Sue Hardwick, 28, Dave Harries, 33, Alison Cope, 28, all instructors with National Mountaineering Centre, Snowdonia; Brian Rollins, 40, outdoor pursuits teacher, Manchester; Laura Strutt 76, Chirk, Clwyd; Deborah Leon 32, union officer, Newcastle upon Tyne; Hamdi al- Menshawy, 27, and Sharon Henson, 25, jeweller; Kate White, 26, Taunton, Somerset, and Louise Peate, 32, Eastbourne, East Sussex, psychologists; Alison Gourdie, 34 hospital consultant, Leeds; Dudley Brown, 39, builder; Dominic Sasse, 37, poet, Shropshire; Pam Muttram, 28, community worker, Manchester; Mark Miller, 31, travel company director, and Victor Radvils, 27, both from Sheffield; Peter Jones, 34, computer engineer, and wife Caroline 29, building society clerk, Harrogate, North Yorkshire; Steve Proctor, 32, council surveyor, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Sasse obituary, page 29

(Photographs omitted)

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