Devon

Former Devon Royal Marine Duncan Potts dies in Alps fall

April Lawson and Duncan Potts Image copyright POTTS FAMILY
Image caption Duncan Potts and April Lawson were due to be married

A former Royal Marine who got engaged last month has been killed in a climbing accident in the French Alps.

Duncan Potts, 28, from Coldridge near Crediton in Devon, died climbing in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix, the Marines confirmed.

He was with a friend on Wednesday when a large rock came loose and fell about 3m (9ft) onto him according to reports.

Mr Potts had been in the Royal Marines, where he was a mountain leader, for 11 years and left in April.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Duncan Potts died climbing in the Mont Blanc range

The Foreign Office said it was providing assistance to Mr Potts' family.

Col Kevin Oliver, from the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Lympstone, Devon, paid tribute to Mr Potts.

He said: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Duncan Potts, an ex member of the Royal Marines family and a mountain leader.

"We knew him as a fine young man who was a credit to the service, who left having achieved much in his career. The thoughts and sympathies of those that knew him go out to his family and friends."

Image copyright APRIL LAWSON
Image caption April Lawson described Duncan Potts as her "soulmate"

His fiancee, vet April Lawson, said on Facebook that Mr Potts, who she got engaged to in Rome on 11 June, was her "soulmate".

"I love you so much," she wrote.

"I always will love you and you will remain in my heart forever. You mean the world to me and are my life.

"I'm truly grateful for the time we had together. My kind-hearted, handsome gentleman."

'World ripped apart'

She said her partner was a skilled climber, surfer, skier and musician who was going to pursue a career in physiotherapy.

"You are such a strong and brave man," she said.

"I miss you and want cuddles please. I hope you were happy Duncan because I was so happy with you.

"I will always love you Duncan Potts to the moon and back."

Mr Potts' brother Andy said: "It's really starting to hit home how much and widely he is going to be missed. I'm still struggling to come to terms with the fact that my big brother is no longer with us.

"Duncan had such an incredible group of friends and you all made his life so fun filled and special and I want to thank every one of you for being such an important part of his life."

Wendy Lawson, mother of April, said her daughter's "world has been ripped apart".

"My heart grieves for this lovely man and for the future now denied both," she said.

"My love and thoughts go out to all his family and friends; Duncan is a beautiful man, inside and out."

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