A CLIMBER killed in an avalanche on Ben Nevis has been named as a teacher at a Bristol school.

Police Scotland and the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were alerted of the incident around 3.35pm on December 30.

A helicopter was sent to the mountain's number two gully to help two male climbers in the area but Mark Bessell, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other man, 40, was taken to Belford Hospital in Fort William for treatment.

Weather conditions made the callout "challenging" and it took eight hours for the 40-year-old to be brought to the hospital. 

Richard Uffendell, headteacher of Ashton Park School, paid tribute to the "well-respected and long-standing member of staff" who sadly died in the accident. 

A letter sent to parents and carers read: "Mark will be deeply missed by us all as he has had such a positive impact on the lives of so many students, staff, families and the wider communities, but he will never be forgotten."

Bessell, a veteran of the Gloucestershire Regiment, is survived by his wife Charlie who also works at the school. 

The former soldier also ran the school's Adventure Club and organised Duke of Edinburgh and Ten Tors trips. 

Uffendell added: "Our thoughts are with Mark Bessell’s family at this time, especially his wife Charlie who also works at Ashton Park School as head of science.

"We are in contact with Charlie and are following her wishes and respecting her privacy.

"We will be in touch in due course with details of how our school and community will pay tribute to Mark’s life and continue the outstanding work he led within outdoor education."