Tribute has been paid to an “exemplary” St Andrews University student from Perthshire who died suddenly in the French Alps aged just 20.
Third year physics student Oliver Michael Vaux was on a canoeing holiday with the St Andrews University Canoe Club when he passed away in his sleep.
Raised in Cheadle, Cheshire, and then Birnam in Perthshire, Oliver attended Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy, where he was encouraged by his physics teacher, Mr McLean, to apply to St Andrews.
Well-known and well-liked by students and staff, Oliver was focusing on astrophysics and was passionate about science and sharing his knowledge of stardust with all who knew and loved him.
In a statement issued to all staff and students at St Andrews University on Friday, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Dame Sally Mapstone expressed “much sadness” at the news.
As a teenager, Oliver was a straight-A student who enjoyed Scouts and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
He flourished at St Andrews, growing into the kind, compassionate and considerate young man his friends and the staff who taught him will remember.
His tutor, Dr Hamid Ohadi said: “Oliver was an exemplary student. He was a rare combination of intelligence and hard work, but also incredibly polite and mindful of his impact and words on others around him.”
Enthusiastic about the canoe club, Oliver had been elected to become their captain for the year to come.
It was on a canoeing holiday in the French Alps that he died in his sleep on May 26, surrounded by friends, after spending the day on the river doing what he loved.
Oliver is survived by his mother Gail, father Mike and sister Elise.
Oliver had shown a keen interest in taking his studies further and wider and had planned to continue his studies to PhD level and to make use of opportunities to study and work abroad.
A young man with huge potential, Oliver embraced life and enjoyed being fully present for his friends and family.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Dame Sally Mapstone added: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Gail, Mike, Elise, Oliver’s wider family and friends, and those who knew and studied with him.”
“There will be a service of celebration for Oliver’s life on Friday June 17 at 4pm in the Birnam Arts Centre, Birnam, Dunkeld.
“All who knew Oliver are welcome to attend and contribute to remembering this very special young man.
“I am keenly aware that Oliver’s death has had a profound effect on staff and students who knew him.
“Student Services, the Chaplaincy and Occupational Health are available to offer support to anyone affected by this sad news. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with them.”