MH17 victims: Students, Newcastle United fans and former BBC journalist among Malaysia Airlines passengers killed in crash

A nun and three young Australian children were among those killed

Two students, a former BBC journalist and two Newcastle United fans are believed to be among the 10 British passengers on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Tragic stories have been emerging of people who boarded the doomed flight, including an entire Indonesian family, a nun and three young children flying home with their grandfather.

All 298 passengers and crew died when the Boeing 777-200 crashed in eastern Ukraine after apparently being shot down as it passed over the war-torn country on Thursday.

Tributes on social media have been pouring in for Richard Mayne, a Leeds University student who took the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on his way to Australia.

The 20-year-old was in his second year studying maths and finance at the university and had previously studied at The Dixie Grammar School in Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, where it is believed he was originally from.

John Wood, Mr Mayne's former headteacher, confirmed his death and said everyone at the school was "devastated" by the loss of the former Deputy Head Boy.

"Richard was an extremely pleasant and thoughtful young man who gave his time generously for everyone," he added.

"Richard had a great thirst for life and he wanted to make the world a better place.  It is tragic that his life has been cut short, especially under these circumstances - he had such a great future ahead of him.

"The thoughts of all of us at The Dixie Grammar School are with Richard's family and friends at this most difficult time; he will be sorely missed."

Richard Mayne in April 2014 volunteering for a children's charity in Nepal Richard Mayne in April 2014 volunteering for a children's charity in Nepal (Facebook) Links on Mr Mayne’s profile showed that he had raised more than £1,000 for a children’s charity climbing to the Everest Base Camp in March and was an avid rugby player.

Writing on Facebook, one friend said: “Words fail me, why do the worst possible things happen to the nicest most kind caring people. Richard Mayne you re an inspiration and will be much loved forever and always xx”

Another wrote:  “Richard was a fantastic, friendly, inspirational and very much loved student at The Dixie, words cannot express my sadness.

“The world is missing a very special young man, my thoughts go out to his family and all who will miss him so much.”

Read more: Malaysia calls for independent MH17 investigation

Another student, Ben Pocock, was also heading to Australia on the plane to begin a professional placement and study at the University of Western Australia.

A spokesman at Loughborough University said Mr Pocock, from Bristol, had just completed the second year of his international business degree and was an "excellent student" on course for a first.

“He was also a fine athlete, who played on the university athletic union's Ultimate Frisbee team and won their Player of the Year honour,” she added.

“We are in contact with Ben's family and are offering them all the support we can. We are also providing support for the university's staff and students.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Ben's family and friends, and with all those who have lost family and friends in the crash.”

Glenn Thomas, 49, was a media officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and was on his way to Australia with a delegation of scientists and activists attending an international Aids conference in Melbourne.

Fadela Chaib, a fellow WHO spokesman said: “I can confirm [Mr Thomas] was on the flight travelling to Australia to attend the Aids conference in Australia.

"For the time being we would like to give his family time to grieve. We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional. Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock."

Mr Thomas, a former BBC journalist, was reportedly from Blackpool and had recently celebrated his birthday.

On Twitter, Timothy O'Leary, a communications team leader at the WHO's Western Pacific office, wrote: "I grieve for my friend and former WHO colleague Glenn Thomas who died in the missile attack on MH17 over Ukraine."

A handout by the United Nations dated 07 May 2013 and made avaiable on 18 July 2014 shows World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Glenn Thomas World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Glenn Thomas died in the MH17 crash BBC TV news editor Rachel Kennedy wrote: "Horrified to discover lovely Glenn Thomas on MH17. Always a smiling face, will be hugely missed."

Two Newcastle United fans travelling to see their team play in New Zealand were also feared to be among the victims of the tragedy.

The fans' website reported that John Alder, in his 60s, and Liam Sweeney, 28,  planned to watch their team play in a pre-season tour.

A tribute on the website said: "Both were well known to away followers, particularly John, whose usual match day attire led to the affectionate nickname of 'The Undertaker'.

Video: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash

“Both were in attendance at Oldham on Tuesday, doing what they loved. Our thoughts are with their friends, families and the many fans who knew them by sight.

"Watching Newcastle will never be the same again."

There has been no official confirmation that the men were among the British passengers on board.

Malaysia Airlines released a list of passengers’ nationalities, including 189 Dutch, 27 Australians, 12 from Indonesians, 10 Britons, four Belgians, four Germans, three Filipinos, one Canadian and one from New Zealander.

Few names have so far been confirmed but Malaysian media released what appears to be a list with details of the 15 Malaysian crew members.

The eight women and seven men were aged between 26 and 53.

Sanjid Singh, an air steward, was only on the doomed jet because he agreed to a rota swap, the Malaysian Insider reported.

The paper said that in a "bizarre twist of fate" Mr Singh's wife, also an air steward, escaped death on flight MH370 131 days ago because she too organised a shift change.

"We are heartbroken because he was our only son. What to do? What has happened, has happened," his father, Jijar Singh, said.

A nun from Sydney, Sister Philomene Tiernan, was also on the flight on her way home from a holiday in France.

She had worked for 30 years as a teacher and director of an exclusive Catholic school in Sydney, Kincoppal-Rose Bay.

"I feel like since we are all away from our parents she seemed like a grandma that everyone just loved," a year 10 student told the Australian Associated Press.

Names of some of the 80 children on board have been released, including three young siblings from Perth in Australia.

Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged 12, 10 and 8, were seen off by their parents in Amsterdam before boarding the flight with their grandfather, Melbourne's Herald Sun reported.

Additional reporting by PA

Read more: Pro Russian separatists 'discuss shooting plane down'
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
ebooksNow available in paperback

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Life and Style
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Not quite what they were expecting

When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires

Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal at the Golden Globes in 2011
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Scandi crush: Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

Th Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up