Parents of boy, 12, killed in indoor ski smash held him in their arms as he died

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Louis Watkiss, 12, died after colliding with another skier as he was enjoying a toboggan party with his friends, and his parents have said they held him as he died

Louis Watkiss died at the Tamworth Snowdome on September 24 while at a friend's birthday party
Louis Watkiss died at the Tamworth Snowdome on September 24 while at a friend’s birthday party

The parents of a 12-year-old boy who died at an indoor ski slope have said they held him as he died.

Louis Watkiss died at the Tamworth Snowdome on September 24 while at a friend’s birthday party, after colliding with another skier, Birmingham Live reports.

His parents Chris and Natalie Watkiss were at home when they got a call to say Louis had been hurt during the tobogganing party, but first didn’t realise how seriously he had been hurt.

Speaking to BBC Radio WM, Mr Watkiss said: “I never thought to tell him to be careful.”

He said that, even after seeing an air ambulance outside the venue as he arrived, he thought the worse case scenario for Louis would be a broken arm.

He followed paramedics up the slope towards Louis which he described as “a very nerve-wracking walk.”

He said: “There was a lot of blood and within a few minutes he was pronounced dead in front of me. I laid with him for a bit, told him he was a good boy and how much I loved him.”

His parents Chris and Natalie Watkiss were at home when they got a call to say Louis had been hurt during the tobogganing party
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Image:

Staffordshire Police / SWNS)

Mrs Watkiss then joined him and they lay together with him, holding a hand each for about half an hour.

The family are now working with their local MP, Andrew Mitchell, to change the law to make helmets mandatory.

Since Louis died, tobogganing has been banned at the SnowDome until the Health and Safety Executive is satisfied risks can be managed.

His family have previously said he “did not die on his terms”, and are campaigning for a new law to ensure children are safe while participating at such venues.

In a heartfelt appeal, the Watkiss family said: “Louis Watkiss, 12-years-old, passed away on September 24, 2021, at a friend’s birthday party due to injuries sustained in an incident at the Snowdome, Tamworth.

“He never had a chance to fight for his life. He did not die on his terms.

Police outside SnowDome at Leisure Island on the day of the accident
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Image:

BPM Media)

“Our son, Louis, died as a young boy. He achieved his goal of making us proud and his dream of being proud of himself. Our lives will never be the same.

“We want to thank all of the emergency services and Snowdome staff who tried incredibly hard to save our son’s life.”

Their statement continued: “We have decided to set up this GoFundMe page because Louis lost his life to a tragic incident that should never have occurred.

“We are asking for support to assist our family’s present and future needs to continue the investigation surrounding the circumstances of his death.

“In the future, we want to campaign to change or lobby for new law that ensure our children are safe when taking part in snow activities.”

The GoFundMe fundraising appeal has already reached around £3,000 of its £10,000 target and anyone wishing to donate can do so here.

Louis’ family have previously said he “did not die on his terms”
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Image:

Staffordshire Police / SWNS)

The emotional appeal said: “Louis was a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin and a friend.

“We are so thankful Louis’ younger brother had five happy years with Louis, and he will hold dear the memory of Louis’ stoic personality.

“Louis was a studious pupil who enjoyed learning showing immense curiosity about the world around him.

“He played the Saxophone in grade 5, achieving distinctions throughout his Royal Academy of Music exams.

“His involvement in two jazz ensembles – Birmingham Symphony Hall and Birmingham Conservatoire – demonstrated his passion for music.

“Louis supported Chelsea and England football clubs. He followed England Cricket and Birmingham Bears, regularly watching both sports.”

Floral tributes left for Louis at the time of the accident
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Image:

Birmingham Live)

The family’s statement concluded and said: “We humbly ask that you can help in any way you can. Any help you can give is appreciated, whether financially or just sharing the story to bring justice for Louis and ensure that this cannot happen to another child.

“We are eternally grateful for the honour of knowing Louis and the pleasure of raising him. We love Louis very much. Our pride. Our joy. Our love. We miss him so much it hurts.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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