British Boy has died after fall from a hotel

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Nine-year-old Matthew Hamer from York, whose parents are respected biologists, dies while on holiday in Malaysian capital.

The nine-year-old son of two British academics has died after a fall from a hotel while on holiday in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Matthew Hamer was described as “a smashing lad” by the coach of his cricket team in York and as a “lovely, friendly boy” by neighbours in the Bishophill area of the city where the family lives.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not issued details because of the child’s age but reports suggested that he fell either from a window or a fire escape. A spokesman said: “We are aware of the death of a British national and we are providing consular assistance.”

Matthew’s parents, Prof Jane Hill and Dr Keith Hamer, are respected biologists who have worked at a number of universities before settling in their current posts. Hill is associate head of the department of biological sciences at York University and Hamer is a reader in animal ecology at Leeds University and an expert on seabirds and their relationship with both food supply and climate change.

Both are understood to be in Malaysia, where enquiries continue into the tragedy. The head of Hill’s department, Prof Deborah Smith, said: “It is with great sadness that we heard the news of Matthew’s tragic death. The thoughts of friends and colleagues in the department of biology and across the university are with Jane and Keith at this terribly difficult time.”

Matthew was in his third year of playing cricket for junior teams at Ovington Cricket Club, which plays at Little Knavesmire near York racecourse. The team’s coach, Alan Fletcher, told the Yorkshire Post: “It’s devastating news. He had been with us for three years and he was a smashing young lad. He was a very sensible boy, never the sort who would mess around. Nobody at the club can really believe it. Everyone is upset about what’s happened. On behalf of the club I would like to extend my condolences. We are devastated at this tragic event.”

The family’s next-door neighbour, Paul Burland, 46, said: “We are going to miss him terribly. He was a lovely, friendly, active boy. He was a close friend to our children. We are all very sad.” The Guarding (uk)