A snowboarder is fighting for her life following an accident in the French Alps.

Former Northbrook College pupil Emily Watts, known as “Mimi”, is thought to have been practising jumps when she fell at high speed down a steep slope and crashed head first into a snowdrift.

As rescuers struggled to reach her, she was stuck for about 45 minutes and suffered a cardiac arrest. She is feared to have brain damage as she snowboarded on Saturday, December 8, the first day of the season.

The 26-year-old, who used to live in Brighton but returned to her parents’ home in Suffolk to save for “the holiday of a lifetime”, is on a life support machine in Annecy, near where she fell in Grands Montets, the largest pisted skiing area in the Chamonix Valley. Her parents, Nicky and Dominic, and brother Rory are with her.

Family members said she needed a “miracle” to pull through.

Yesterday (December 11) Sue Dare, the principal of Northbrook College in Littlehampton Road, Worthing, where Mimi studied theatre, props and special effects including costume design between September 2008 and June 2010, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Emily’s tragic accident.

'Creative force'

“Dan Jenkins, Emily’s course tutor, described her as a creative force with an adventurous appetite for life. Emily’s wonderful attitude and talent made her a real joy to teach.

“Our thoughts go out to Emily and her family.”

Mimi’s aunt, Shona Pollock, who lives in London but works in Sussex, told The Argus she had only recently left Brighton and arrived in France two weeks ago, hoping to find work at the ski resorts.

She said: “She went home to save money for the trip – it was the trip of a lifetime.

“She is on life-support at the moment and her parents and brother are with her. But a miracle is needed. She is a lovely girl.”

Send your messages of support to Mimi at news@theargus.co.uk or comment below.

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