Touching Tribute To Oxford Uni Student Who Died In France

8 December 2016, 12:33

An Oxford University student who died on a Varsity skiing trip has been described as 'adventurous and imaginative'.

Matt Smith was found dead by his friends in their accommodation in the French Alps after their first night on a Varsity ski trip in the Val Thorens resort.

The 21-year-old was studying history at St John's College and had been the secretary of the ski and snowboard club last year.

His Dad Howard has said he would have loved that his fellow snow-lovers took his snowboard for one last ride this week.

The 49-year-old spoke of his son's love for snowboarding and the ``happiness'' he found in the mountains, where his family now see him ``resting at peace''.

In a statement he said: 

'He especially looked forward to the annual Varsity trip. Even though he didn't have a chance to start enjoying it this year, he would have wanted the party to carry on without him.

`He would have applauded the way his fellow snow-lovers took his snowboard for one last ride this week.'

Thousands of students from Oxford and Cambridge Universities join the popular annual Varsity ski trip, which dates back to 1921.

French authorities, the club committee and Mr Smith's fellow students were also thanked for their support following the student's death.

The statement said:

`Matt was adventurous and imaginative in life, and kind, generous and loyal to his friends. Matt made friends everywhere, and seemed to capture the hearts of whomever he met. He intensely wished everyone to strive to achieve all they could; he felt anything was possible, and did not believe in regrets.

`Since his death, in Val Thorens, we have been astonished at the outpouring of love for Matt, and the many stories from friends who've told us how he influenced their lives for the better. It is amazing to hear about the sheer amount of joy he'd spread, even though we sometimes do not know whether to laugh or cry.

`Matt loved the mountains. He wrote from Canada about the peace and happiness he felt there, and he spent hours at a time contemplating the beauty of the French Alps with his fellow snowboarders.''

`Matt achieved so much in 21 years, and he revelled in the achievements of those around him. He would have taken great pleasure in seeing the amazing things that his peers will achieve in the years ahead.

`Sadly, we will not see what Matt could have achieved in the future, but we see him resting at peace in the mountains, above the clouds.'

Tributes were also paid to Mr Smith this week by friends, the Oxford University Ski and Snowboard Club, his university and auction house Sotheby's, where he had undertaken an internship.