Tributes paid to tragic NI teacher who died in climbing accident

Tributes paid to Randalstown teacher Barney Dobbin
Tributes paid to Randalstown teacher Barney Dobbin

Tributes are being paid to a local teacher who died in an horrific climbing accident in south America.

Barney Dobbin, 25, from outside Randalstown, was killed in a climbing accident in Ecuador.

He died after reaching the summit of Mount Chimborazo, the continent's highest mountain.

The young teacher had been working at The British School, Quito in Ucuador.

In a Facebook post they said: "It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of our much loved colleague Ciaran Barney Riley-Dobbin.

"Barney was a wonderful teacher and friend and will be greatly missed by everyone in the BSQ family and beyond."

According to a report in the Belfast Telegraph, his family have been devastated by the news, and local councillor and family friend Henry Cushinan said: "He had been training for the climb which took his life for the past year with a team of climbers, having started mountain climbing a few years ago prior to traveling abroad.

"The mountain they were to climb - Chimborazo - is technically the highest on earth as it lies on the equator and so reaches farther from the centre of the planet.

"Although she is distraught, in her sadness Barney's mother is immensely proud of her son, as he succeeded in reaching the summit.

"It's a testament to his determination and spirit."

And Barney's uncle, John Dobbin, offered a moving tribute to the young teacher.

"Barney touched the lives of so many across the globe, and the world has lost a mighty fine son," he said.

"He explored, discovered, feared not, respected, applauded, loved and cherished all that our mighty planet and inhabitants had to offer.

"On his last day on earth he was as close to the stars as was humanly possible. This was his ultimate and brilliant final achievement.

"He is now the largest star of all, shining brilliantly and beautiful within our hearts.

"He was a true son of Ireland who proudly carried his flag to far-off lands respectfully and was moulded from the love of his parents.

"The world is a much smaller and poorer place without Barney."

The Dobbin family are working closely with the Kevin Bell Trust to arrange the repatriation of Mr Dobbin's body from Ecuador.