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Our caring Jemima’s legacy will help others
10:11am Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
Parents Tom and Karen Prees, whose daughter Jemima died in a skiing accident in Austria, says her legacy will live on in a charity set up in her name, after an inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Jemima, ten, was on the slopes in the Austrian Tyrol at the Mayrhofen resort with her father, Tim, and older brother Barney, 19, in February when at the end of the day they descended as a group.
Mr Prees told the hearing in Salisbury on Tuesday through a statement that it had become icy on the slope as the family, who live in Colerne, went down at about 4pm on February 11 this year.
He said: “Jemima suddenly skied straight past me. I yelled ‘turn in, turn in’ but she went straight ahead and did not react. She went straight down to the edge of the piste.”
After suddenly losing control on the ski slope, the Calder House School pupil crashed head first into a tree at high speed.
She was airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck, but later died.
A post-mortem examination found the youngster died from a traumatic brain injury and a spinal rupture, but Mr Prees added that his son had carried out mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and heart massage for 40 minutes.
“As a result of, that four children in Europe benefited from Jemima’s organs,” he said.
“The doctors said his work was textbook. He should be very, very proud of what he did.”
Wiltshire and Swindon assistant coroner Claire Balysz said it was difficult to know exactly what happened, but that it appeared that Jemima had hit an icy patch, lost control and hit her head on a tree.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Prees and wife Karen spoke about how their daughter lived every day to the full and how they decided to set up a charity, Jemima’s Gift, to provide opportunities for other children to achieve their full potential.
Mr Prees, a Devizes solicitor, said: “Because of the inevitable publicity that came from Jemima’s death, we wanted to do something positive to continue her legacy and reflect the sort of child she was.
“She had an incredible gift for caring for other children and she recognised that not everyone had the same opportunities that she had, so we decided the best way to reflect her life was to create a charity that would provide opportunities for children and open doors for them.
“The charity has been very fulfilling for us and a great way to mark her memory.
“It reflects the caring girl she was and we hope that something positive can come from a disaster.”
To find out more about the family’s charity, which has already raised nearly £50,000, or to donate, visit its web site at www.
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