On Saturday night, around 200 climbers and mountaineers, friends and family pulled on their best shirts and headed to Manchester Town Hall, determined to celebrate the life of Roger Payne in style.
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Roger Payne – former general secretary of the BMC and mountain guide – died in July's deadly avalanche on Mont Maudit, together with his two clients, John Taylor and Steve Barber.
The evening – supported by the BMC – was a chance to remember Roger, his wide grin and his even wider contributions to the climbing world. The evening kicked off with a moving video tribute from Doug Scott, one of those who appointed Roger to his first job at the BMC as national officer.
Iain Peter – former chief executive of Plas y Brenin and long-time friend and climbing partner to Roger – then took over. He revealed their early days in the Alps - dossing in Snell’s Field, wild-eyed first alpine experiences and bad behaviour in bars - and their progression to adventurous trips to Pakistan.
Former BMC national officer Andy Macnae and Ian Parnell – former competitions officer and editor of Climb magazine – then delved into the strangely Machiavellian world of climbing politics and the real stories behind Roger’s many successes.
Finally, his wife Julie-Ann Clyma gave an emotionally charged talk about their climbing lives together; the mountain guiding that brought them into contact with so many people; and what that meant to her and Roger.
Many of Roger's former colleagues were there to pay tribute, including former general secretary Derek Walker, erstwhile access and conservation officers Bill Wright and Jeremy Barlow, and plenty of mountaineering stars, including Alan Hinkes, Mick Fowler and Andy Cave, all of whom climbed in the Himalaya with Roger.
The evening was well compered by Andy Perkins – mountain guide, friend of Roger and Kendal Film Festival presenter. His continual urgings to raise a glass to Roger were keenly followed by the packed room. The result: a night that Roger would have approved of, a fitting tribute and some very sore heads at the crags the next day.
Watch some of the presentations below (thanks to Simon Gee of Reeltime Adventure)
Part 1: Opening tribute
Part 2: Tribute by Mandip Singh Soin
Part 3: Roger's climbing achievements
Thanks to everyone who attended, especially Donna Rogers and Karine Taylor – partners of Steve Barber and John Taylor. Thanks to all who helped with the presentations, especially Simon Gee of Reeltime Adventure.
Make a donation to the Roger Payne Memorial Fund
Read the BMC tribute to Roger Payne
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