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Hill walkers’ aid launched in journalist’s memory

A weekly reporter whose body was found two months after he fell in a river while out walking has inspired a new aid designed to help locate missing climbers and hillwalkers.

Clive Dennier, left, who was a reporter at the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, was found dead at the end of May, two months after his colleagues at the paper raised the alarm when he failed to show up for work.

On Friday, The Clive Campaign, which stands for Climbers Location and Identification Verification Envelope, was launched in his memory by his family and local politicians.

It is hoped the new form, which has been backed by mountaineering and rescue experts, will save relatives from the agonising wait for news which was endured by Clive’s family.

It is aimed at encouraging those venturing into the hills and mountains to leave their details and the proposed route they are taking with a responsible person.

Clive’s sister Judy Needham and niece Holly joined Labour politicians Rhoda Grant and David Stewart at the launch at Glenmore Lodge in Aviemore.

“Clive was a very good friend as well as a brother and we as a family are all missing him greatly,” said Judy.

“He was always happy, sociable, interested in people and a great friend to many. He had a free spirit and was always keen to be off on his adventures.

“Unfortunately on this occasion he did not come back and we as a family would not want any other family to experience what we had to over these past few months.

“I really, really hope that those venturing out into the hills choose to fill out a Clive form and leave with someone responsible advising what route they are taking and when they are due back.”

Clive had worked as a media officer for Rhoda Grant and David Stewart and they and their staff decided that they wanted to do something to remember him and came up with the idea of the Clive Campaign.

“Clive was an excellent journalist and press officer, he was a lovable individual who would do anything for anyone and I am delighted for all concerned that we can launch this campaign in his memory,” said Miss Grant.

Mr Stewart added: “Clive was a friend as well as a valuable member of our team. We were all devastated when he went missing and our shock was also shared with many in the community as he seemed to have touched everyone. It is a great pleasure to be in a position to launch this campaign in his memory.”

Clive left work at the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald on 23 March and had been talking to colleagues about going hill walking over the weekend.

He failed to turn up at his office in Grantown on Spey on Monday and in the following weeks a massive search was mounted for him.

Eventually his car was traced near Loch Hourn in the Knoydart area of the West Highlands.

Despite extensive searches for Clive, no trace could be found of him and two months later his body was found in a river that leads into Loch Hourn.

He had a gash on his head and it appeared as though he slipped and banged his head while trying to cross a fast flowing river.

Heather Morning, of the Mountaineering Council, said: “I would encourage anyone, but particularly those who head out into the hills alone, to use the ‘Clive form’ and complete one each time they head out.

“No one thinks that they will have problems in the hills, but sometimes the unexpected happens. Taking a few minutes to complete the ‘Clive form’ could prove to be the most important thing you have ever done. A simple note could also save our valuable emergency services time and a huge amount of money.”

Helen Webster, of Walking Highlands, said: “The agonising wait for Clive’s family and friends following his disappearance really brought it home to many hill walkers the need to let others know of their plans. This initiative makes it fairly easy to do so and should be part of planning an enjoyable trip.”

Friday’s launch was due to be followed by a special memorial gathering later on with numerous friends and colleagues to celebrate Clive’s life.