Tributes have been paid to Kate Vokes and her 22-year-old son Archie, who were killed in an avalanche in France.

Along with her brother Chris Oglesby, Mrs Vokes ran the Manchester-based property company Bruntwood.

The company was founded by their late father Michael Oglesby and works extensively in the science and technology sectors through its Bruntwood SciTech division.

Mrs Vokes and her personal trainer son Archie died when an avalanche swept through an off-piste area near the French ski resort of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains on Thursday. An investigation has been launched.

In a statement Bruntwood  said: “We are heartbroken to share the tragic sudden loss of Kate Vokes and her son Archie.

“As The Oglesby Charitable Trust’s chair, our non-executive director, Royal Exchange Theatre board trustee, and sister of our CEO, Kate was truly loved and respected by so many. We will miss them terribly.  The family kindly ask for privacy at this time as they grieve.”

Mrs Vokes studied at Leeds Business School before moving to London to take up her first job role as a buyer for Safeway. She returned to the region and achieved an MBA at Manchester Business School before moving to Accenture.

In 2000 she joined the family business concentrating on roles in HR, customer services, marketing and brand.

Her son Archie worked as a personal trainer at FORM in Manchester.

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Friends and colleagues have taken to LinkedIn to post tributes following the tragedy.

Vaughan Allen, chief executive, CityCo Manchester and  Manchester BID, wrote: “The sudden loss of the lovely Kate Vokes has hit so many people across Manchester. She was genuinely adored by so many people for her work across charity, theatre and especially the Manchester Youth Zones.

“For five or so years she was chair of us at CityCo and Manchester BIDs. Being a chair is an odd job at times, especially when non-exec. it’s hard to know how much to get involved and how much to leave the team to run. I’ve been lucky to have three great chairs, all strong in very different ways.

“But Kate was there at some of the worst times for the company and she was always steadfast and rock-solid in supporting me and the team.

“We argued fairly often, and she challenged me A LOT. But I knew that her priority was always the improvement of the city and the welfare of our team. And, ultimately, she got us through.

“She didn’t have to be involved in so many things, she chose to. And I, along with so many other people in Manchester, will always be grateful for her support.”

Jason Elsom, CEO of Parentkind, posted: “So saddened to read of the passing of Kate Vokes and Archie Vokes. Both lost to an avalanche near Saint-Gervais-les-Bains on Thursday.  Kate (devoted) much of her time to deliver social impact, supporting young people in Manchester.”

Candice Flanagan, a senior chartered building surveyor ar Bruntwood, wrote: “Heartbroken, such an absolute tragedy. Kate was an inspirational women and always had time for people, she genuinely cared  she was loved by so many and will be sadly missed.”

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Strategic marketing director Fran Burgess said: “Kate was one of the first people to offer me a consultancy role when I left the permanent sector. Despite her family’s huge success, she was an incredibly kind and down-to-earth person. My thoughts and prayers are with Kate’s family, everyone at Bruntwood, and everyone who knew her.”

Sarah Milroy, a health and safety quality manager, at Citation Professional Solutions, wrote: “Very sad to hear about Kate Vokes and her son losing their lives in an avalanche. I had a great deal of respect for Kate during the time I worked at Bruntwood, and send my condolences to her friends and family. A lovely person whose loss will be widely felt.”

Bruntwood SciTech was founded by Legal & General and Bruntwood in 2018 to support the growth of the life science and tech sectors.

Last year Bruntwood SciTech secured £500m of additional investment and welcomed the UK’s largest local authority pension fund, Greater Manchester Pension Fund, to the partnership.

Now the largest dedicated property platform serving the UK’s innovation economy, Bruntwood SciTech aims to create a £5 billion UK-wide portfolio that can support 2,600 high-growth businesses by 2032.

The new capital will be used to expand and redevelop existing science and technology campuses and city centre innovation hubs, delivering much-needed additional world-leading lab and office space in Manchester, Cheshire, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Cambridge, across a secured 3.6m sq ft development pipeline.

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