Young Scottish doctor dies in freak skiing accident in French Alps

Tributes to a "kind and caring" trainee surgeon
William ReidWilliam Reid
William Reid

A devastated family have paid tribute to a talented young doctor from Edinburgh who died in a skiing accident in the French Alps.

Tragic William Reid is thought to have taken a wrong turn on the way back to his apartment on Friday before hurtling over a 30-foot cliff onto concrete below.

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Medics battled in vain to save the 25-year-old’s life in front of long-term girlfriend Kirsty Summers and younger step-brother Murray.

“He was an outstanding person” tearful dad Dr Hamish Reid, 56, told the Evening News. “I never heard anyone say a bad word about him. He was just a lovely, lovely guy.”

William had just enjoyed a lunch with lawyer Kirsty, also 25, Murray, 20, Hamish and step-mum Anne, 51, when tragedy struck in the resort of Avoriaz.

“Kirsty and Murray carried on the normal route and a couple of minutes later came around the corner and saw doctors trying to resuscitate him,” said Hamish.

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“Poor Murray and Kirsty saw this and were asked to step back - they’re quite traumatised by all of this.”

“We all are but they’re perhaps even more distressed by what they saw at having lost a loving brother and life partner.”

'Utterly devoted' couple

William and Kirsty had been together for six years since meeting at university in Aberdeen and planned to buy a home together in Edinburgh this year.

“They hadn’t actually said they were getting married but we were all sure they would,” added Hamish, of the “utterly devoted” couple.

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“We’ve had William for 25 years but only had a few more years, Kirsty had her whole life with him.”

William was just weeks away from finding out whether he would be accepted onto the Scottish orthopaedic training programme to begin his dream career to help others.

“He absolutely loved surgery,” said Hamish. “He performed his first appendicostomy the day before he came on the holiday.”

A keen footballer and rugby player as well as skier of 15 years, William played throughout his school days at George Heriot’s.

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“I was thrilled he’d chosen to become a doctor and actively supported him throughout,” added Hamish, a GP in Penicuik. “I was so proud of him and so excited for him becoming a surgeon.

“We’d had a lovely Christmas all together in Edinburgh. It was the fifth day of a brilliant skiing holiday and we’d all had a fantastic time.”

William graduated from Aberdeen Medical School with a Bachelor of Medicine and a BSC in Sports Science in 2018.

During his studies he completed a placement at Harvard Medical School where he worked at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Institute in Boston.

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He was doing foundation training in Newcastle as he prepared for a future career as a surgeon.

In a family statement, brother Cameron, 23, and mum Sarah, 52, a hotel sales director, also spoke of their loss.

“His family were immensely proud of his achievements but more than that they were proud of who William was as a person,” reads the family statement.

“He was an extremely kind and caring son, brother, step-brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and good friend to so many people.

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"William will be missed by so many people, he was an exceptional young man."

The family are now waiting to repatriate William's body while funeral arrangements are being made.

An FCO spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who died in Avoriaz, France, after a skiing accident and are in contact with the French authorities.”

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