Climber dies as avalanche hits Himalaya team.A POPULAR mountaineer was swept to his death by an avalanche as he helped his injured friends down one of the most challenging peaks in India.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend St Philomena's School chapel in Pound Street, Carshalton, tomorrow (Saturday) to celebrate the life of Dr Brendan Murphy who died after having successfully conquered the Changabang peak on the borders of India and Nepal.
His two friends, who were suffering from frostbite and cracked ribs, searched desperately to find him but his body was buried below tonnes of snow, ice and rock.
As Dr Murphy's body has not been recovered, his parents, Gerry and Brigid, of Linden Way, Purley, will bury an ornate antique brass chest containing pictures of 33 year-old Dr Murphy and his family, and holy relics from Jerusalem, Lourdes and the Spanish shrine of Compostela, situated in the mountains where he had previously climbed. His mother has also put the first book she bought him on mountaineering in the box, which will be buried in Bandon Hill Cemetery, Wallington.
Although the accident happened on Tuesday, June 3, Mr and Mrs Murphy are still coming to terms with their son's death. As climbing was his passion, Mrs Murphy never told her son how she dreaded every climbing expedition he ever went on. She believes he knew, however, because he would never talk about the minor accidents when he returned home.
When officers from Wallington police station knocked on the their front door, 63 year-old Mrs Murphy was filled with a sense of dread. She said: "I always knew it was very dangerous. It was because of this he never talked about his climbing activities to save us the undue worry. "To cushion myself, I never watched television programmes or read articles on climbing. I always dreaded the news that he had died. "When the police officers told us, it was our worst nightmare come true. I was numb with grief."
Mr Murphy, 74, added that their son had previously been away on ten climbing expeditions but he had always come back to a big family gathering. The one tomorrow will be a much more sombre affair.
Unable to sleep the first night after being told of their son's death, Mr Murphy wrote down his emotions in a poem to help him cope. It was only after requests from other family members and friends that he was persuaded to include it in the order of service. It reads:
In what craggy cleft does our son now lay,
Entombed by snow that once did stay
In peace serene till that sad day
When Nature arose, our son to slay.
And why should that be? I hear you say
T'is the Lord that gives -- and takes away.
Yet in God's good time he will restore
Our son to us for evermore.
Cambridge graduate Dr Murphy had kept in contact with many of his school friends at Wallington High School for Boys. It was while at the school that his love of climbing grew into a passion. His mother said: "Every spare moment he was climbing. When he was doing his PhD in computer science at Loughborough University, he would work hard to justify takin weeks off to go along on expeditions. Brendan had attempted to climb Changabang last year but his team were forced back due to bad weather. They tried again this year, and reached the summit, the first team to do so since 1982. He always loved a challenge and he wanted to conquer Changabang."
More than 100 condolence cards line the Murphy's living room. The memorial service from llam will include music sung by the choir of St Philomena's School, where Mrs Murphy was a former Latin and history teacher.