So tragic! Ellie Soutter’s father has revealed in his first interview since her suicide that he believes the young his snowboarder’s death could have been triggered from missing a flight to train with her UK team.

No one was closer to up and coming British snowboarder Ellie Soutter than her dad Tony. The Olympic hopeful took her own life on her 18th birthday on July 25, committing suicide in a forest outside the town of Les Gets, France where she lived with her father while training. Ellie’s dad has now given his first interview since her tragic passing. “She wanted to be the best,” he 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,” he revealed.

“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,” he added. Tony then said that the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to be stripped away. “Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public,” he told the site, adding “I have lost my best friend, my total buddy. She was my rock.”

Tony took to Facebook to reveal Ellie’s passing with a heartbreaking message on July 26. “This cruel world took my soul mate and ‘Bessie’ from me yesterday on her 18th birthday. I was so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into. Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little champion!”

At the time of Ellie’s suicide, she had been under great financial pressure to maintain training for her snowboarding career. A GoFundMe page was set up in her name to raise funds for her to continue to pursue her dreams. “As a junior athlete coming from a family without substantial wealth, Ellie often had to miss out on competing and training through lack of funds. She felt and understood the constant pressure to obtain the necessary funds for her training and events. A full season of required training to maintain this level of competition was in excess of £30,000 annually. At this time, as a Junior GB athlete, there is minimal or no funding for travel or accommodation and athletes have to pay a subscription for coaching,” the page read.

Since Ellie’s passing her family as continued the fundraising site to raise money for other British athletes in need of financial aid to pursue their athletic careers. It now reads: “In her memory, we, her family, have decided to continue fundraising under Ellie’s name for young winter athletes that need financial assistance to achieve their potential and dreams, in much the same way as Ellie had looked for your help.”

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