British snowboard champion Ellie Soutter dies on 18th birthday
Aspiring British Winter Olympic snowboarder Ellie Soutter has died at the age of 18.
Soutter - who grew up in Surrey before moving to France - claimed a bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Olympic Winter Festival at the age of 16 where she was the flagbearer at the closing ceremony.
She turned 18 on Wednesday 25 July, the day of her death.
National governing body British Ski & Snowboard has urged troubled young people to seek support from Samaritans or Childline in the aftermath of the tragedy.
“Ellie was one of the country’s best up-and-coming snowboarders, competing in both snowboard cross and freeride,” said a statement.
“A bronze medallist in snowboard cross at the 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey, Ellie claimed Team GB’s only medal of the event.
“The thoughts and condolences of the British Ski & Snowboard community are with Ellie’s family, friends and teammates.
“Samaritans is free to call on 116 123 in the UK. Childline is available to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through - call free on 0800 1111.”
Her father Tony Soutter posted a message on Facebook about the death of his daughter.
"This cruel world took my soul mate and 'Bessie' from me yesterday on her 18th birthday. Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little champion."
Soutter had been named in the senior GB squad for the snowboard cross Europa Cup campaign to boost hopes of a place at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. She was due to represent GB at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand next month.