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Family of critically ill British snowboarder fly to France

Relatives of the British student who remains critically ill after a snowboarding accident in the French Alps have flown to France to be by her side.

Emily Watts' parents, Nicky and Dominic, along with her 27-year-old brother Rory, have all travelled to the hospital in Annecy where she is being treated.

It took several days for French authorities to notify her parents because she was not wearing any form of identification.

British student fighting for life after snowboarding accident

A British student who was left critically ill after a snowboarding accident in the French Alps is still fighting for her life, her family said today.

Emily Watts, known as Mimi, fell headfirst into a snowdrift and was stuck for about 45 minutes following the fall in Chamonix on Saturday.

By the time emergency crews arrived, the 26-year-old, from Lavenham, in Suffolk, had suffered a cardiac arrest, prompting fears of brain damage.

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Memorial service held for nine killed in Alps avalanche

A memorial service has been held for nine climbers, including three Britons, killed in a huge avalanche in the French Alps.

Steve Barber, John Taylor and Roger Payne died as they traversed Mont Maudit - or Cursed Mountain - in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix in the early hours of Thursday.

The other victims were three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss climber.

During the memorial service at the Eglise Saint-Michel in Chamonix the name of each of the victims was read out and a candle lit for them.

Surge in donations for climbers' charity

The deaths of two friends attempting to climb Mont Blanc have prompted a surge in donations for the charity for which they were fund-raising.

Neighbours Steve Barber, 47, and John Taylor, 48, were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps, alongside fellow Briton Roger Payne.

Mr Barber and Mr Taylor were attempting the climb to raise money for St Leonard's Hospice in York.

Before news of their deaths emerged, there had been about 20 donations on Mr Barber's page on the JustGiving website, totalling about £300. 149 people have now promised money, with the total now topping £2533.50.

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Hospice 'devastated' to hear of climbers' deaths

Steve Barber and John Taylor were climbing Mont Blanc to raise money for St Leonard's Hospice.

Its director of fundraising, Janet Morley, said:

We are devastated to hear of Steve's death and the deaths of John Taylor and Roger Payne, as well as of the other victims.

Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends today."

– St Leonard's Hospice

Climber dreamed of reaching Mont Blanc summit

Steve Barber, 47, was attempting to climb Mont Blanc for the first time. His long-term partner Donna Rogers said:

As might be expected, the family and I are all devastated at the loss of Steve and his close friend John.

Steve, like John, loved the outdoors and was a keen walker. He always wanted to climb Mont Blanc, an ambition that this trip was to fulfil.

He had been training hard for the ascent and had successfully completed several challenging climbs in Europe and in the UK prior to this trip.

Wife 'devastated' after avalanche tragedy

John Taylor, 48, originally from Manchester, moved to Upper Poppleton, a village to the north-west of York, in 2003. As well as his wife Karine he leaves daughters Emma, 10, and eight-year-old Louise.

We are all truly devastated about this loss. John always had a keen interest in outdoor activities taking up mountaineering in 1998 and was a highly regarded and very active member of mountain rescue teams himself.

John had climbed several challenging mountains across the world, including Mont Blanc on two previous occasions. He was a highly respected climber and this event represents a significant loss to the UK climbing community.

In his personal life, John was a finance director, working within the public and private sectors. He will be sadly missed by his work colleagues.

– Karine Taylor, wife of John Taylor
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