What happened to 12-year-old Louis Watkiss at Tamworth SnowDome?

Louis Watkiss Credit: ITV PLC

The MP for Sutton Coldfield, Andrew Mitchell, sent a letter to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries calling for the wearing of helmets by children at indoor ski slopes to be made mandatory.

It is something the MP spoke about in parliament last month following the death of his 12-year-old constituent, Louis Watkiss.

What happened to Louis Watkiss?

Louis died in an accident at the SnowDome centre in Tamworth in Staffordshire on Friday September 24, 2021.

Now, his parents have launched a campaign to make the helmets mandatory for children at indoor ski slopes, and have enlisted the help of their local MP.

Louis Watkiss enjoyed playing the saxophone Credit: Handout

Who's Louis Watkiss?

Louis was a keen jazz musician, and played the saxophone with ensembles at the Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City Hall.

He was also a sports fan, supporting Chelsea and and watching cricket with his Dad.

What happened at the SnowDome?

Louis was attending a friend's birthday tobogganing party when he collided with a member of staff on the slope.

Addressing parliament last month, Mr Mitchell said Louis had "died instantly" after suffering skull fractures.

He had tobogganed before, and in an interview with ITV Central after the tragedy his father, Chris, said he asked paramedics to "keep trying" to resuscitate Louis, but it was too late.

Mr Watkiss said: "They pronounced him dead and gave me a bit of time with him to lay with him for a bit. I gave him some kisses, held his hand and told him he was a good boy.

"They...gave us 15 to 20 minutes where we both just laid with him in the snow, holding a hand each stroking his hair and talking to him."

"I walked up the slope which was a long, terrifying walk", his parents recall what happened to Louis at the SnowDome to ITV Central in December 2021

It is understood helmets are now compulsory at the SnowDome centre in Tamworth but this is not a legal requirement.

In his letter to Ms Dorries, Mr Mitchell pointed out that "the coroners verdict confirms that there is little doubt that a helmet would have saved his life.

"There may be a case for a change in law to mandate the wearing of helmets for children at indoor ski venues."

For Louis' parents, and his younger brother, that change in law is about ensuring no other family has to endure what they have.