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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 20:14 GMT
Inquiry into charity worker death
Michael Blakey
Michael Blakey was a trustee of the charity's UK fundraising arm
The death is being investigated of a 23-year-old charity volunteer whose body was found partially hidden under a mound of stones in northern India.

Michael Blakey, originally from Burnley, but who lived in Swansea, was found in the town of Dharamsala three days after he was last seen by friends.

Police said the Swansea University graduate had head injuries and an autopsy confirmed an unnatural death.

The Foreign Office said the Indian authorities were investigating.

Mr Blakey had been in India for five months working with the Tong-Len Charitable Trust.

Mr Blakey graduated with a first class degree in development studies from Swansea University and had been due to fly back to the city for Christmas.

Anna Owen, the director of the charity's UK fundraising arm, said Mr Blakey had last been seen by friends on the evening of 25 November.

She said his body was found three days later in a gully close to a church where he worshipped. His body was partially covered in stones.

I really feel for his family in having lost this wonderful young man
Anna Owen, Tong-Len Charitable Trust

She said she had met Mr Blakey through her daughter, when the two of them had been volunteering to work with refugees.

She said: "The world has lost somebody that's very special. He was dedicated and an ardent campaigner for human rights, a young man who was prepared to devote the whole of his life to the service of others.

"The word that comes immediately to mind was that he was good. He was passionate, he was caring. He went out of his way to help anybody in trouble.

"He was modest, he was bright. He just had so much to give and actually achieved so much.

If he was attacked and murdered that would be such a sad, sad loss and very difficult to understand
Michael Blakey's father Paul

"This is a tragedy. It's much more than just a personal loss, although obviously I really feel for his family in having lost this wonderful young man, their son.

"I feel for his friends, I feel for us a charity because he really is irreplaceable to us."

Mr Blakey's father Paul said: "If it was an accident it will be a bit more easy to live with.

"If he was attacked and murdered that would be such a sad, sad loss and very difficult to understand."

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said the authorities in the state of Himachal Pradesh were investigating the death. They were awaiting a further report.


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