Cathedral Funeral For Winchester Boy Killed In Avalanche

The funeral for a Hampshire teenager, killed in an avalanche while on a skiing holiday last month, will be held at Winchester Cathedral this afternoon.

16-year-old triplet Cameron Bespolka from Winchester died after being buried under snow at the resort of Lech am Arlberg in the Austrian Alps on 17 December 2013.

His funeral will be held at Winchester Cathedral at 2.30pm today (Friday 17 January).

He was skiing with his father, his brother and an experienced ski guide when he was buried under an avalanche.

His brother escaped but his 51-year-old father was also buried. He was severely injured in the incident and remains in hospital in the nearby town of Feldkirch, police said.

The father and sons, who were visiting the exclusive Austrian resort from Winchester, were taking part in a ski lesson when the avalanche began.

Paying tribute at the time, the Headmaster of Winchester College, Dr Ralph Douglas Townsend, said:

"On behalf of the entire school, I would like to express our deep sorrow on learning about the death of Cameron Bespolka while on holiday in Austria. Cameron was in his third year at Winchester College and was universally regarded as a gentle, kind, talented boy who was very popular with staff and pupils alike. He was modest and had a quiet, individual style, but was a strong personality and instantly likeable. Patient and caring, he put people immediately at their ease. He also had an impish and dry sense of humour.

"He is one of triplets, and also had a younger sister. His parents are very caring and focused on their children whom they clearly love very much.

"He came to Winchester College from The Pilgrims' School. His siblings go to other schools.

"Bird watching was his biggest passion. He was the keenest young birder in the School and his interest, enthusiasm and knowledge were recognised outside the School. He has Flickr, Facebook and blogs on the internet. He had a bright future in ornithology and probably wildlife and conservation as a whole.

"His enthusiasm was infectious and he was wonderful company, so his friends regularly asked if they could join him on his birding trips to the School's water meadows or St Catherine's Hill. On Sundays he would often get up at 6 a.m. to go birding.

"Cameron was also a good tennis player and cross-country runner.

"In an example of his characteristic generosity, he recently invited the whole of his year group in his boarding house on a day out to celebrate his 16th birthday. The typical style with which Cameron and his parents organised this made it feel like a relaxed family day out."

Rescue workers later found that the father and son's emergency anti-avalanche airbags had been used successfully, but failed to save the 16-year-old's life.

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