Athlete killed in Florida air crash to be honoured

THE memory of a young athlete who died in a light aircraft crash in the US is to be honoured with a tribute race in her name.

Carly Beattie, 21, died last week along with her brother Daniel, 24, after the Cessna 152 she was piloting nosedived into swampy woodland near Blue Cypress Lake in Florida.

The student pilot from Penicuik, Midlothian, had been in the US as part of her degree course in air transport with commercial pilot training, at Buckinghamshire New University.

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She was also a talented sprinter, and had hoped to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Now Edinburgh Athletic Club, where she trained, hopes to hold a regular race in her memory.

Head coach Bill Walker said Carly's father Tom had said he was honoured by the move. He said: "I've spoken to her father and he's agreed that it would be OK.

"We're going to run the 200-metre race, because that was probably her favourite race, and I'll probably only allow people who trained with her to run it the first time round, so that the first name that goes on the trophy is of someone who trained with her."

He thought the race would probably be incorporated into an existing running meet.

He said: "I'd like it to be in a reasonably quality competition so it gets some profile, and it would be run at Meadowbank, because that's where she ran mainly.

"I may try and get some sponsorship so that we can have some prizes every year."

He said members of the club and other friends were still in shock following the news of Carly's death on Thursday.

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He said: "I've had phone calls from Australia from two athletes that used to train with her, and from Glasgow, from athletes that I've almost forgotten.

"I've had at least 40 phone calls from different athletes. She was very popular."

Mr Walker first heard of the siblings' deaths from press reports, and on Friday received a call from their father in Florida. The family had been visiting Carly at the end of her time studying abroad and she had hired the plane from a nearby charter company.

He said: "Her dad phoned me and he didn't think I would know about it.

"He'd actually phoned me the week before, he was in Tenerife and was going out to America for a week and he said 'Would it be OK if Carly starts training in June?'.

"I think it would be this week she was due back."

Mr Walker said he had been watching a video of the young athlete at a training session.

He said: "At the end of it she waves and says goodbye, and that really got me. It was just a training session that she'd been doing and you can hear her dad say: 'Say goodbye'."

Investigators are working to establish the cause of the crash.