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Wednesday August 1, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

100s of people attended the service in Les Gets, France. The GB snowboard athlete took her own life on her 18th birthday.

A simple service was held in the Eglise de la Nativité de Marie in the French ski resort.

400 or so people were at the funeral that was conducted in French and English.

Ellie's simple wooden coffin was flanked by two of her snowboards with pictures of her.

Her parents, Tony Soutter and Lorraine Denman, walked behind the coffin as it entered the church.

Friends, family and local dignitaries from the town were present.

A private cremation followed the ceremony and her ashes will be scattered by her family on her favourite mountain, Mont Chery, in the resort.

Earlier her father said mental health issues and the pressure of elite sport may have contributed to her death.

In his first interview since his daughter died Tony Soutter told the BBC this week that missing a GB training camp may have tipped her over the edge.

Ellie was found in woodland near her home in Les Gets last Wednesday, 25th July.

Tributes poured in from across the snowsports world:

The rising star had been aiming to compete in snowboard cross at the next Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.

She won a bronze medal at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Turkey in 2017.

She was also a talented freerider, competing and making the podium in the Freeride Junior World Tour last season.

Ellie SoutterEllie Soutter - photo Team GB















"She wanted to be the best," Tony Soutter told BBC South East.

"She didn't want to let anybody down.

"Unfortunately it all came about from missing a flight which then meant she didn't go training with the GB squad.

"She felt she'd let them down, felt she'd let me down and just tragically it just takes one silly little thing like that to tip someone over the edge, because there's a lot of pressure on children."

Tony Soutter speaking to the BBCTony Soutter speaking to the BBC













Mr Soutter told the BBC South East he had lost his best friend, his "total buddy" and his rock and called for action to help young athletes.

"Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public."

Mr Soutter has set up a foundation in his daughter's name to support young winter athletes who need financial help to train and compete:

Ellie and Tony SoutterEllie Soutter and proud dad Tony - photo Tony Soutter Facebook















The high-performance agency UK Sport said it was working to provide support for athletes.

"This is a desperately sad situation and our thoughts are with all of Ellie's family and friends," a UK Sport spokesman told PlanetSKI.

"We are working with all of our Olympic and Paralympic programmes and the mental health charity Mind to make sure appropriate support is in place."

The snowsports governing body, British Ski and Snowboard, has issued a statement.

"Ellie was an incredibly popular and well-liked member of the team and the country has lost a great talent.

"The wellbeing of all athletes across every discipline is the primary concern of any sporting organisation.

"We commend the family for setting up the Ellie Soutter Foundation and they have our full support."

Ellie SoutterRIP Ellie Soutter















Meanwhile her former school, the Hawthorns School in Bletchingley in Surrey, has paid tribute to her.

The school said it was "greatly saddened" to hear of her death.

Here is the statement in full:

"The Hawthorns School community is greatly saddened to hear of the sudden death of Ellie Soutter on her 18th birthday.

Ellie joined The Hawthorns aged 4 years and moved to France with her father aged 10.

Teachers and staff remember her as a bubbly, likeable and enthusiastic pupil.

In her local French school snowboarding was part of the PE curriculum and her love of snowboarding and the outdoors was nurtured.

Bordercross and halfpipe were her favourite disciplines.

Age 16 years she represented Great Britain winning a Bronze medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival, bringing home the only medal for team GB and carrying the flag in the closing ceremony.

Ellie won the Old Hawthornian Cup for Outstanding Achievement in July 2017 and in December came back to The Hawthorns to talk to the pupils and staff in assembly about her life and aspirations for the future.

Her ambition was to represent Great Britain at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Old Hawthornian Association had recently offered her some financial support from their Personal Development Fund to help fund her training and kit.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ellie's family at this very sad and difficult time."

Ellie visits Hawthorns School Ellie visits Hawthorns School


















The International Ski Federation, FIS, has also expressed its condolences in a statement.

"FIS would like to express deep sympathies to the family and friends of young British Snowboarder Ellie Soutter, who died last week on her 18th birthday. Soutter won a bronze medal for Great Britain at the 2017 Youth Olympic Winter Festival and carried the British flag at the closing ceremony," said the statement.

For immediate help on mental health issues contact The Samaritans on 116 123 free from any phone, 24 hours day, 365 days a year.

MAIN PHOTO: Romy Thomas Photography

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