A ROCK climber from Ashtead who died after falling more than 300ft has been described as a "one-in-a-million son" by his family.
Jack Wooding, 29, suffered severe head injuries and had to be airlifted to hospital by a rescue helicopter after the accident in the Cairngorm Mountains near Aviemore, Scotland.
The Forest Way resident, a qualified solicitor, was not wearing a helmet or any ropes as it was "just a gentle slope", and failed in an attempt to stop his fall with an ice axe. His father Eric told the Advertiser his son had loved "the risk and thrill" of rock climbing.
"The group he was with had done a risk assessment of the climb, called Aladdin's Mirror, and they decided they didn't need ropes and helmets. They didn't see any great problems," he said.
"As he fell he tried to stop himself but he just couldn't. Jack didn't do things by halves. He had physical courage, he was a brave man and a one-in-a-million son."
Following the accident on January 13, Mr Wooding's father, his mother Margaret, sister Mona and twin brother George rushed to his bedside.
Doctors told the family he had suffered "unsurvivable" brain injuries and he died 24 hours later.
A legal advisor for the Department for Transport, Mr Wooding attended The Greville Primary School and Therfield School before graduating from Oxford University with a double first in politics and modern history.
George Wooding said: "He had lots of friends and was adored by everyone locally.
"He slipped in the snow and the momentum carried him down. It was a gentle slope – nothing more than Box Hill near where we live – and he didn't need ropes or a helmet.
"It just happened at the wrong place and he went over the edge. It's just so sad that he has lost his life because he had so much potential.
"The only comfort we have is that he died doing something he enjoyed."
His mother Margaret said: "He was a multi-faceted boy with a keen interest in international affairs and human rights.
"We have been blown away by the letters we have received from people in the village who knew and loved him."
A memorial service was due to take place at St George's Church in Ashtead on Thursday at 1pm.