Tributes paid to North Chailey teenager from who died on skiing holiday

Court
Court

A mother has remembered her son who died while on holiday last year as a ‘family-orientated’ teenager who always put others before himself.

Harry Walker, 19, of Haywards Heath Road, North Chailey, died hours after flying to Andorra for a skiing holiday with friends in March 2014.

He made me laugh, he had his lively sense of humour and always put others before himself.

Penny, Harry Walker’s mother

His mother Penny paid a heartfelt tribute to him at an inquest into his death, held in Horsham on Friday (March 27).

She said: “Harry was very family-orientated and very protective of his family - he adored both his sisters.

“Harry was the man of the house living with me and his sisters, and he looked after me so well.

“He made me laugh, he had his lively sense of humour and always put others before himself.

“He was accepted at Plumpton College to study forestry and he thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of it.

“He was conscientious and a hard worker.

“Harry and some friends decided to go on holiday to Andorra to go skiing.

“The last time I spoke to Harry, he sounded really happy and excited.”

The inquest heard that Mr Walker and five friends flew to Barcelona on March 23 2014 before taking a coach to Andorra, where they were visiting for Snowboxx, a popular skiing and music festival destination.

After the group arrived in Andorra, they went out for the evening, drinking alcohol and attending two nearby discos.

In the early hours of the morning on March 24, five of the group left the Tabola Club, with only Mr Walker remaining there, the inquest was told.

He was last seen with another group of four English tourists.

His friends said that although he had been drinking, he remained upright and conscious.

His body was discovered in a river by a dog walker at around 8.30am on March 24, the inquest heard.

A post mortem conducted in Andorra revealed that Mr Walker likely died between 5am and 7am.

Dr Ali Alhakim, a pathologist at East Surrey Hospital, analysed the post mortem and said he believed the cause of death to be a ‘massive’ pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in the lung.

He said: “According to the post mortem, there appears to be a massive pulmonary embolism.

“That is enough to cause death in my opinion.

“It is very unusual in this age group.

“I don’t think the alcohol played a part in developing the pulmonary embolism.

“I think it is more likely the pulmonary embolism has caused him to fall over into the river and I think the pulmonary embolism is the cause of the death.”

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said: “The conclusion is that Harry Walker died from natural causes.”