Maths and Finance undergraduate at the University of Leeds Richard Mayne has been named as one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in Eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
Mayne was one of ten Britons confirmed to be on board by Malaysia Airlines. He is reported to have been travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when the aircraft was downed, and tributes have been pouring in from friends, family and strangers through social media.
One friend noted that “words cannot express my sadness,” while companions called him “an inspiration”.
Mayne was a keen fundraiser for Leeds RAG, raising over £1,000 for children’s charity Kidasha in an expedition to the Everest base camp in March.
The charity fundraising society issued a tribute: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of RAG member Richard Mayne on board MH17. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends”.
The Malaysia Airlines jet was flying at 33,000 feet at the time it lost contact with air traffic control, and experts have said it was most likely downed by either a very advanced surface to air missile or a military jet using air to air missiles.
The pro-Russian rebels who have been trying to take the Eastern side of Ukraine into Russia since 2014 have been suspected by the Ukraine government, fuelling claims that Russia has been arming the rebels.
All 298 passengers and crew on board the flight were killed, and investigations have been launched by governments across the world.
The University Union has released a statement since confirmation of the MH17 passenger list by Malaysia Airlines over the weekend:
“We would like to pay our respects to Richard Mayne who sadly lost his life on Thursday 17th July and ensure that students seek the support they may need during this difficult time. We’ve continued to be moved by the kind words of condolence that have been pouring in over the weekend and our thoughts remain with Richard’s family, friends and fellow students”.
The Union commended Richard’s involvement with the Men’s Rugby Club and Surf Club as well as his work for Leeds RAG, saying: “”He’ll be sadly missed by all his friends here at Leeds and we’re grateful and proud of the massive contribution he made to our student community.
We urge all students affected by Richard’s tragic death to seek support from our Student Advice Centre and Help@Leeds.”
The statement also touched on requests for a memorial service: “Any plans will be in accordance with the family’s wishes and we’ll keep students informed via our social media channels”.
Richard’s JustGiving page has received hundreds of pounds in new donations since the tragedy.
The amount raised for children’s charity Kidasha now stands at over £4,000.