An Aberdeen school community was in shock last night as it emerged a much-loved teacher is believed to have died in a climbing accident.
Robert Gordon’s College contacted parents following the “tragic” accident thought to have claimed the life of head of biology, Owain Bristow.
Emergency services, including the RNLI and Coastguard, have been searching for a climber believed to have fallen from the Bullers of Buchan, Peterhead, on Friday.
The school informed pupils and parents late last night that Mr Bristow was involved.
A statement said it would not be possible to run a normal school day and the timetable for senior classes was cancelled.
It also explained that despite the “best efforts” of those involved, the search had been unsuccessful as Mr Bristow’s fall caused him to be swept out to sea.
After days of extensive searches police said they were now treating it as a recovery operation, rather than a rescue.
Pupils who need to attend the school to receive support, to be with friends or to pay respects, have been invited attend at certain times for their year group.
The alarm was raised at about 7pm on Friday night by fellow climbers and a multi-agency search was immediately launched.
Lifeboats from Aberdeen and Peterhead initially searched the area alongside officers from Cruden Bay Coastguard rescue teams.
A rescue helicopter assisted the efforts as police could be seen using a drone on Saturday afternoon.
In a letter addressed to parents, head of the college, Robin Macpherson, apologised for the short notice of arrangements but felt due the nature of the news and community impact, it was the best way of providing support at such a “distressing time”.
He said: “For everyone at the school this has been a great shock and we are slowly coming to terms with this devastating news.
“As part of the process of staff and pupils coming to terms with this profoundly upsetting news, we feel that it is not feasible to run a normal school day.”
Mr Macpherson said he had been in contact with Mr Bristow’s close family and “passed on condolences on behalf of everyone in the Gordon’s community”.
Normal arrangements remain in place for pupils in junior school and nursery, with the senior school open for those who would like to receive support.