Talented wildlife photographer from Yorkshire farming family, 17, who had won RSPCA award killed in M1 crash

A Yorkshire farmer’s daughter and award-winning wildlife photographer has been killed in a crash on the M1.

Elise Thomas, 17, from Sledmere near Driffield, has been named as the victim of a collison near Wakefield on Saturday August 12.

The Ford Fiesta the teenager was travelling in was struck by a Vauxhall Corsa on the southbound carriageway at 8.29am, and she died in hospital last Friday.

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Her family said: “Elise was a beautiful soul. She was an inspiration to others and was amazingly talented with her photography. Even at such a young age she was successful. Everything she touched turned to gold”.

Elise Thomas lived on a farm on the Sledmere EstateElise Thomas lived on a farm on the Sledmere Estate
Elise Thomas lived on a farm on the Sledmere Estate

In 2021, Elise won the RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year Award, presented by Chris Packham. She was known for capturing shots of deer, boxing hares and owls near the family farm, a hobby she began in lockdown.

The former Driffield School pupil, who was studying media production at East Riding College, wanted to become a Formula One photographer. She had worked as a waitress at Sledmere House, and was also part of the catering team at the Cranedale field studies centre near Malton.