The brother of a 26-year-old Lavenham woman killed in a snowboarding accident in France last week has paid tribute to his family’s “bright shining star”.
Emily Watts – known as Mimi – who lived in Bury Road, never recovered consciousness after being trapped in a snow drift near the popular ski resort of Chamonix in the French Alps where she had started working two weeks previously.
It took rescuers almost an hour to reach her and she had suffered a heart attack caused by oxygen starvation.
Her mum Nicky McAllister, stepfather Malcolm McAllister, dad Dominic Watts and brother Rory Watts flew out to her hospital bedside in Annecy and were with Miss Watts when doctors at the hospital decided to turn off her life support.
Rory said: “We are all deeply saddened by what has happened, which was just an extremely unlucky sequence of events. However, we can find some comfort in the fact that all parties involved have been so helpful.”
He thanked the French mountain rescue team, police and hospital staff, as well as the British man who found her, the ski instructor who called for help and Mimi’s friends for their support.
“Hopefully, this will make people aware of how something as seemingly harmless as a snowdrift can be so hard to get out of and therefore lethal,” he said.
“I hope that Mimi’s death can teach us all to do what makes us happy every day, challenge convention and find humour in everything.”
Miss Watts, a design student, had been offered a place to study for a masters degree and hoped to launch her own range of clothing for winter sports in the future.
“The world lost a bright shining star, but her memory will live on and continue to inspire us all,” said Rory.
The family will be starting a charity called Good Story in her memory.
“It’s primary purpose will be to nurture creative talent by helping young people to start up their own businesses,” said her brother. “I hope we can give others the chance to succeed in life and earn an income doing what they love to do.”