PARENTS of a Huddersfield lawyer killed by an avalanche have described the loss of the family’s ‘lynchpin.’
Father-of-two James Ryan, 37, died in the Italian Alps during a skiing trip with friends on Sunday.
Mr Ryan grew up in Huddersfield and attended The Mount School in Edgerton before going to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield.
He lived in Farnley Tyas with his wife of 10 years Helen, originally from Shepley, and children William, two, and Elizabeth, five.
His parents Mel, 76, and June, 72, live at Sharp Lane in Almondbury.
Mel, a former Yorkshire county cricketer, started the Ryans newsagents chain that had shops around Huddersfield.
He said: “It’s very difficult losing somebody of that age.
“He has been a lynchpin to us.
“You don’t expect your children to die before you do. It’s an enormous shock.
“He was very well liked and very well respected, as we are finding out from many different people.
“Everybody seemed to like him.”
Mr Ryan, who worked as a corporate lawyer for Walker Morris solicitors in Leeds, was a vastly experienced skier who took up the sport at the age of five.
He was part of the highly successful skiing team at Millfield boarding school in Somerset, which he attended in his teens.
He was later offered a position as an instructor at a prestigious ski school in Austria.
Mr Ryan and his friends had set off on Thursday to tackle the 230km Haute Route, from Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland.
But after the group’s guide decided it was too dangerous because of heavy snow and loose ice, they transferred to Aosta in northern Italy.
Mr Ryan was fatally injured when a 400-metre wide wall of snow swept him away on Sunday afternoon. He was pulled from the drift but pronounced dead on his arrival at hospital.
Mel Ryan said: “He was a very conscientious skier, not someone who took risks. He was extremely skilled.
“The only consolation is that he died doing something he loved and that it happened quickly.”
Mr Ryan’s body was being brought home yesterday.
“We don’t know if there’s a church big enough for all the people who will want to come to the funeral,” his father said.