A FORMER Flintshire teacher has been named as the sole Briton killed in a plane crash in Mali.
Dave Morgan, who grew up in Mynydd Isa, near Mold, and taught at Argoed High School, was one of 116 victims who died when Air Algerie flight AH5107 from Burkina Faso to Algeria crashed on July 24.
Mr Morgan, 57, known as ‘Masher’, was said to be a passionate rugby enthusiast.
He taught mathematics and PE at Argoed High School from 1981.
Yesterday his sister Janet Ellis, of Sychdyn, paid tribute to her late brother.
“He was a good bloke, a top bloke,” she said, adding: “He made a difference to so many people and he was very well liked.
“He was immensely proud of being Welsh and his Welsh roots and whatever country he was in, he’d always support Wales.”
Mr Morgan was born in Luton before moving to Mynydd Isa aged six.
The talented sportsman represented Mold in rugby and cricket as well as swimming for Buckley as a youngster.
His friend Ian Jones said he was a “local lad who taught kids from his own village”.
Mr Jones said: “Dave ‘Masher’ Morgan was an inspiration to all the students he taught.
“What was exceptional about Dave was he cared for all students no matter what their ability in sport. He would encourage everyone to take part.
“Dave was passionate about rugby and would coach students outside work.
“He had a very close bond with his students as he had a kind nature but also a great sense of humour.”
Mr Jones, also from Mynydd Isa, said that ex-students and friends all said Mr Morgan cared for them all and would support them no matter what.
He continued: “He was also very personable and he felt more like a mate than a teacher.
“His family were well known within the village, especially his dad Dixie Morgan, who was very proud of his son. He, like Dave, was a larger-than-life character.
“It’s a tragic loss to everyone who knew him.”
Mr Morgan’s last teaching post was at the International School of Lusaka in Zambia where he had been for two years – having previously taught at the Koç School in Istanbul and Nanjing International School, China.
Adele McKeown, from Buckley, was taught by Mr Morgan when she attended Argoed High School between 1982 and 1984.
She said: “He was a fantastic teacher. He was inspirational and encouraged everyone.
“He was a fantastic rugby player and everyone thought highly of him. The kids loved him so much.
“You don’t think for a second that when the plane goes down, someone local that you knew would be on it.”
Argoed High School governor Quentin Dodd added that Mr Morgan “had a lot of go”.
“He was larger-than-life and on the PE side, he set and example and always participated.
“My son Hugh played rugby with him.
“He was a sportsman through and through – and participation was his middle name.
“He certainly had a lot of go.”
After it was confirmed that Mr Morgan was the sole British victim of the AH5107 crash, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond MP said: “I’m deeply saddened to hear confirmation of the crash of Air Algerie flight AH5017 on July 24.
“My thoughts and sympathies go out to all those who have lost loved ones in this tragic incident.
“The British Government stands ready to help in any way we can.”
Almost half of the passengers aboard the doomed flight were French.
Many were due to head on to Europe after arriving in the Algerian capital Algiers from the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou.
On Friday, Francois Hollande, the French president, said one of the plane’s black box flight recorders had been recovered by French soldiers from the wreckage of the plane in the Gossi region of Mali near the border with Burkina Faso.
Officials said the crash could have been the result of bad weather as there were powerful sandstorms in the region at the time of the crash.