Retired Barlaston teacher Steve Holding among 19 killed in Nepal plane crash
RETIRED teacher Steve Holding was among 19 passengers killed in a plane crash in Nepal.
The 60-year-old, of Barlaston, was on a two-week holiday-of-a-lifetime when the tragedy happened yesterday.
Seven Britons were killed, including 58-year-old Cheshire East Council worker Raymond Eagle, of Macclesfield.
Steve's widow, Maggie, last night released a statement, as police stood guard outside her Longton Road home. She said the former science teacher helped out at Audley-based Peak Pursuits and was involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
She said: "Steve always loved being in the mountains.
"He had planned this trip earlier in the year and was to trek around the area of the Everest Base Camp."
Friends and neighbours paid their respects to Steve, who was a member at Barlaston Bowls and Tennis Club, Stone. Club chairman Bill Boswell, aged 66, of Barlaston, said: "He was bowling with us last Friday and we had a cup of tea together and he told me all about the two-week trek he was going on.
"Stephen was a smashing chap. He was quietly spoken, always very pleasant and had a good sense of humour. I'm still trying to get over what has happened."
Richard Wright, a friend of Mr Holding's who owns the Post Office in Longton Road, said: "I've known Steve for six years. I met him in our local, the Duke of York, and we would have the occasional pint.
"He was such a lovely guy. We got on together.
"His hobby was walking and it was a feature of his lifestyle.
"He has always been a very independent person who was fulfilling his life-time achievements."
It is understood the Holdings had retired to Barlaston around six years ago.
Steve was a member of the Bremex Mountaineering and Climbing Club, in North Wales.
Club member Matt Morton, who spoke to Steve last weekend, said: "He was a gentle giant of a man.
"He was tall, quietly spoken and just a genuinely nice chap."
The twin-engine propeller Dornier plane crashed shortly after take-off in a field near the capital Kathmandu. Witnesses heard screaming coming from inside the plane which was already on fire before it hit the ground. It is understood a bird had hit the plane.
Steve, who was travelling with Hampshire-based Explore Worldwide, had arrived in Nepal on Wednesday and was due to start a Himalayan trek yesterday.
Pay your respects to Steve Holding below.