Friends mourn after Scots teenager dies: "He made everyone happy...I can't believe Elliot isn't coming back."

A CLOSE friend of tragic Scout Elliot Peacock, killed in a gorge accident during an adventure trip in Italy, said he "made everyone happy".

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Distraught James Hay, 14, paid an emotional tribute to his pal of three years as he laid flowers beside at least another 40 floral tributes from fellow pupils at a tree in the grounds of Eastwood High School yesterday.

He said: "I can't believe Elliot's not coming back. He was really looking forward to the holiday. He loved adventure and was always full of life.

"He was a really funny guy and he made everyone around him happy.

"We will miss him - when I heard what had happened I was really upset.

"Elliot was very popular and everybody liked him. He made you feel happy just being around him.

"We were in S3 and moving up to S4 after the holidays. He went on a lot of the school trips as well. He loved going abroad."

Stuart Maxwell, headteacher at Eastwood High School, also spoke of the tragic accident .

He said: "Our entire school community is in shock and profoundly saddened at the tragic loss of Elliot.

"Elliot was a genuinely lovely boy, well-liked and well-mannered. He would always say hello when he met you around the school. Everyone knew him as a very nice, polite, quiet lad.

"He did well in all his subjects, particularly in physics, enjoyed PE and played guitar, and he had a wide circle of friends.

"We have been deeply moved to see so many of Elliot's friends and pupils from the wider school community arrive at the school to lay flowers and leave cards in tribute to him.

"There will be the opportunity for pupils and staff to sign a book of condolence at the start of term and record their memories of Elliot.

"We were privileged to have known Elliot for the three years he was with us at Eastwood. He will be very sadly missed by everyone here and all our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this extremely sad time."

James and other friends of Elliot, 14, arranged to lay flowers in the school grounds via Facebook and sympathy cards were also left for his parents.

Elliot, from Newton Mearns, died on Sunday after he jumped into a pool at the Lillaz Falls, about 5000ft above sea level, in Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park.

According to reports, early results from a pathologist's examination in Courmayeur have suggested he was killed by whiplash impact as the back of his helmet hit the water, fracturing his cervical vertebra.

He was one of 40 East-wood District Scouts enjoying the second day of a nine-day trip in northern Italy when tragedy struck.

Outdoor education provider Acorn Adventure said the group was "gorge scrambling" when Elliot lost consciousness.

Gorge scrambling involves walking up and down a river gorge and jumping from a low level into pools.

Instructors supervising the trip battled to revive Elliot and a helicopter arrived on the scene within minutes but the young Scout was declared dead at the scene two hours later.

Elliot's dad, Scott, a logistics company operations manager, and mum, Colette, a chartered accountant, flew out to Italy to identify their son's body and bring him home.

Relatives told the Evening Times: "His mum and dad have gone to Italy so we don't want to say anything just now."

Acorn Adventure said it was the second time Elliot had jumped into the water when they noticed something was wrong and rescued him, but it was too late.

A company spokesman said: "On this particular occasion, the group were jumping from a height of approximately 60cm into the water, where instructors were waiting for them, as is normal.

"Water conditions were optimum for the activity and the weather was warm and sunny.

"As this participant entered the water for the second time, it was obvious to the instructors that something was wrong, so they rescued him immediately.

"There was no obvious contact with a rock or anything else, so the reason for losing consciousness remains unexplained.

"As yet it is unclear why this participant lost consciousness as he entered the water.

"Instructors, who are trained first aiders, and nurses, who were also at the scene, began CPR and continued until the air ambulance arrived 10 minutes after being called.

"Very sadly, they were unable to resuscitate him."

Elliot was a member of the Pegasus Explorer Scout Unit, which is linked to the 35th Glasgow Scout Group.

The Scout Association confirmed he had been taking part in a holiday in the Aosta Valley in Italy.

It said in a statement: "We are devastated that a young person has died and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

"The Scout Association continues to support Elliot's parents and the young people and leaders who are part of the

event.

"We will work with Acorn Adventure, who organised the itinerary, to establish if there are any lessons to learn from this tragic incident."

East Renfrewshire Council said pupils and teachers were devastated to hear about the tragedy.

A council spokeswoman said: "We are devastated to learn of the death of one of our young pupils yesterday, while on holiday in Italy.

"Our priority is to provide whatever support is required to the year group and to the family, while we wait for news on the circumstances of this tragic incident.

"We are aware that the family are on their way to Italy and our thoughts

are with them at this profoundly sad time."

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy said his thoughts were with Elliot's parents. He added: "My deepest condolences go to Elliot's family and friends. As their MP I will, of course, do anything I can to support them at this unimaginably difficult time."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in Italy and stand ready to provide consular assistance."

Gran Paradiso National Park was the first national park to be established

in Italy. It includes a large territory of high moun-tains, including the 13,000ft of Gran Paradiso peak, and is a popular spot for hikers and campers.

Classmates have set up a Facebook page in memory of their friend - 'Elliot Peacock RIP' - where friends can pay tribute to the pupil.

janice.burns@eveningtimes.co.uk

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