Hundreds Gather to Mourn the Death of Ellie Soutter, Who Died on Her 18th Birthday
Family, friends and fans are mourning the death of 18-year-old Ellie Soutter.
The Mirror reports 400 mourners gathered in France to say their final goodbyes to the snowboarder at Eglise de la Nativité de Marie in Les Gets.
Ellie reportedly committed suicide on her birthday, July 25, and her body was found in a wooded area near her home in Les Gets.
The funeral included renditions of Schubert's “Ave Maria” and Robbie Williams' “Angels,” and Ellie's simple wooden casket was flanked by two snowboards.
Her parents, Lorraine Denman and Tony Soutter, both delivered heartbreaking messages at the memorial.
Denman said, “Our private bond meant you and I together could achieve anything. No one here will ever understand how close we were. No matter where the future takes us I will always be there for you.”
She continued, “I love you and adore you Ellie, but you must now rest and worry no more. We will look out for each other forever. I make you that promise.”
Her father Tony, whom she lived with leading up to her death, told the audience, “She was everything I have lived for, for the last 18 years. And they will remain the best years of my life. I will miss you desperately. Ride high, my angel.”
Ellie was last seen the morning of July 25 when her father Tony went by her bedroom to wish her a happy birthday, but she was still asleep.
The Mirror says when he checked on her at lunchtime, she was gone. He grew concerned when Ellie was still gone at 6 p.m., and had left her purse.
Tony called police, who used dogs to track her scent through the woods. Her body was discovered just after 11 p.m.
Her uncle, Jeremy Soutter, opened up about the tragedy, saying, “There was no note, nothing. She was somewhere you can hardly access. She must have just kept walking and walking. Police struggled to get there.”
Jeremy added that the family never saw any signs that she would take her own life.
He said, “She was as bright as a button the day before. Happy, excited about life. This is the thing that's killing her father.”
Tony later told the BBC he believed the pressures of snowboarding combined with Ellie's mental health issues may have caused her to take her own life.
Authorities have not released her official cause of death.
Ellie was a member of Team GB, also known as the British Olympics Association, and aspired to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Soutter took home the bronze at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Turkey last year.
Her family is now raising money for winter athletes in her honor. Donate here.