The bodies found on Ben Nevis have been confirmed as those of Rachel Slater and Tim Newton

The bodies found on Ben Nevis have been confirmed as those of Rachel Slater and Tim Newton

The families of Rachel Slater and Tim Newton have thanked rescuers and the wider climbing community after it was formally confirmed the bodies found on Ben Nevis were those of the Bradford couple.

In a statement, they emphasised the young climbers were doing what they loved to do when tragedy overtook them.

Ms Slater, 24, and Mr Newton, 27, were reported missing on Monday 15 February, after failing to return home from a climbing trip on Britain’s highest mountain.

The pair’s families issued a joint statement after their identities were positively confirmed on Thursday.

They said: “We would like to thank the mountain rescue teams, climbing community, police in Fort William and all concerned for finding Rachel and Tim, bringing the news we have been waiting for and for their sustained efforts over the last six weeks.

“These brave and generous men and women have worked incredibly hard to find Rachel and Tim in difficult and dangerous conditions. The Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, police, climbers, friends, family and wider community near and far have been overwhelmingly supportive, generous and kind throughout this difficult time.

“We have received thoughts, prayers, and messages of kindness from all over the world.

“Although much anticipated, it still comes as a shock but we are thankful that we can now move forward with our lives in the knowledge that Rachel and Tim were doing what they loved to do. Climbing was their passion, they loved the mountains, wilderness and outdoor spaces.

“Rachel was also known as Yvonne at Junior High and High School in Calgary, when she lived with her family in Alberta, Canada.”

Lochaber area Inspector Donald Campbell said: “Police Scotland is extremely grateful to everyone who assisted with the search to find Rachel and Tim.

“The response and support shown from members of the public and the media has been overwhelming, from the local community here in Lochaber to Canada and beyond. Members of the climbing community are thanked for providing a wealth of valuable information, which assisted with search planning.

“The determination and expertise displayed by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in particular, in addition to other partner agencies involved in the search, has been outstanding.

“We hope that this identification provides some form of closure for the families of Rachel and Tim, who have bravely endured the agony of not knowing. They have our deepest sympathies at this very difficult time; this of course extends to local communities in Bradford, Leicester and Canada, who will feel the loss of two inspiring young people.”

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