HUNDREDS of people turned out to celebrate the “wonderful life” of a young woman from west Suffolk who died in a snowboarding accident.

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The memorial service to Emily Watts, known as Mimi, who died in an accident in the French Alps, took place at St Peter and St Paul Church in Lavenham, her home village on Saturday afternoon.

The 26-year-old designer, from Bury Road, fell into a snowdrift and was stuck for about 45 minutes after the incident in Chamonix just over three weeks ago. She died on December 13 after being on a life support machine.

Hundreds of people packed out the church for the service which portrayed Mimi - a former student of St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds - as full of life, positive, kind, and who possessed a sense of humour.

Reverend Stephen Earl, who led the service, described Mimi as vivacious, happy, talented and fun-loving with a “natural, creative flair and determination to succeed”.

He said: “As one so full of life and energy and enthusiasm no-one could imagine Mimi would want us today to be mournful, long-faced or miserable for her sake.

“Today is about joyfully celebrating her life and all that she achieved and still mindful of all she could have achieved had this accident not have happened.”

Mimi’s brother Rory shared funny anecdotes from their time growing up together, such as how she would give their pets nicknames - which brought laughter to the service. “Growing up with Mims was so fun,” he said.

He told the story of when they took dolls down to the shed and chopped their heads off and hid their bodies next to the pond. When they told their father Dominic Watts he “roared with laughter”.

“I’m desperately heart-broken I won’t be experiencing any more memories like this,” Rory said.

Georgie Burr described her friend Mimi as probably the least judgemental person she had ever met and someone who knew what she wanted and spoke her mind.

She said: “She was a firm believer that being yourself was not just okay, but was the best and only way to be.”

Mimi would say ‘the people that mind don’t matter and the people that matter don’t mind’.

Friend Charlotte Grant spoke of Mimi’s positive attitude. “She said to me happiness is a choice. If you try to act happy you will be happy. If you are not happy with something in your life change it. You can make yourself happy.”

During her childhood Mimi, who had studied costume design, was passionate about ponies and she “always had a passion to head to the mountains”, Revd Earl said, reading a piece her mother Nicky McAllister had written for the parish magazine.

“And she died in Chamonix doing something she loved,” she said.

Rory said he had been “completely overwhelmed” by the sheer amount of love shown following his sister’s death, adding how media attention for the charity Good Story had got it off to a good start.

Mimi’s family have set up Good Story in her name with the aim of nurturing creative talent by helping young people find funding and advice to start up their own businesses.

For more information visit goodstory.org.uk

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