A University of York graduate, Ruth Holdway, 29, has died in a holiday accident whilst exploring a tunnel in Madeira.
Miss Holdway was on holiday with her parents Paul and Kathleen on the Portuguese island when she fell more than 100 metres. She apparently stumbled when climbing through the tunnel behind a waterfall.
Mr and Mrs Holdway, aged 66 and 59, called the police when Miss Holdway failed to return to their apartment.The couple had turned back from their exploration when the course became too steep.
Miss Holdway studied History at the University of York and graduated in 2002. She is one of the country’s top 50 female slalom conoeists and was Secretary of the University’s Canoe Club.
Mrs Holdway commented on her daughter’s experience at the University, saying that “York was very special to her.”
YUSU said: “She was instrumental in introducing hundreds of young people to canoeing in the local area. Her determination, drive and sheer commitment to Paddlesport has resulted in the development of a New Club House at Trentham. Without Ruth’s fund raising and marketing skills this would still be on the drawing board.”
Miss Holdway, originally from Trentham in Staffordshire, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003 and subsequently underwent a year of chemotherapy and launched a Cancer Challenge, which saw York canoe polo players take part in record-breaking marathon matches in aid of charity. They raising £17,500 in 2004 and £10,000 in 2006.
The University Press Office commented: “We heard of the death of Ruth Holdway with great sadness, and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.”