THE former school of the Suffolk woman who tragically died following a snowboarding accident in the French Alps has paid tribute to her.

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Hugh O’Neill, head teacher at St Benedict’s Catholic School, in Bury St Edmunds, said the 26-year-old, from Bury Road, Lavenham, would be “sadly missed”.

Emily Watts, known as Mimi, fell head-first into a snowdrift and was stuck for around 45 minutes after the incident in Chamonix, last Saturday.

By the time emergency crews arrived she suffered a cardiac arrest, prompting fears of brain damage.

Her parents, Nicky McAllister and Dominic Watts, along with her 27-year-old brother Rory and step-family, flew to France to be by her bedside but she passed away on Thursday having been on a life support machine.

Mr O’Neill said: “The news of Emily’s death reached us at St Benedict’s on Thursday afternoon.

“Although we knew that Emily’s condition was critical we had hoped and prayed for some sign of recovery. Sadly, it was not to be.

“This morning [Friday] at school assembly I told the students of Emily’s passing.

“Of course, few, if any of the students here knew Emily, but they are all painfully aware of the tragedy of a young life cut short while enjoying what must have been a wonderful time in the mountains.

“We said the Eternal Rest, the traditional prayer for the souls of the departed and we prayed for Emily’s family at this awful time.

“It made us all reflect on what it would be like to face Christmas with a loved member of a family no longer there.

“We know that news of Emily’s death is rapidly travelling around her school friends who will be shocked and saddened by the loss of a lovely friend.

“Emily will be deeply missed.

“At St Benedict’s we will cherish her memory and continue to keep her in our prayers.

“We will let others connected to the school know of Emily’s death through our newsletter and website.”

The former student had been working at the French resort for a few weeks.

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