Fund-raising for hospice to be little Ruby Owen's legacy
HUNDREDS of well-wishers are expected to attend the funeral of cancer victim Ruby Owen.
Mourners from across North Staffordshire will gather on Saturday to say their final farewells to the 'little girl who inspired so many'.
• GALLERY: Brave Ruby Owen
And as a fund-raising legacy to the brave youngster, a collection in her memory will go to the Donna Louise Children's Hospice where she spent the final weeks of her short life.
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In a statement, the five-year-old's parents Martin and Rachel said: "Ruby was a very special little girl who never hurt a soul but touched so many."
Ruby, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009, slipped into a coma at the Trentham Lakes-based hospice on Monday and died at around 5pm.
Her funeral will be held at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Goldenhill at 10.15am. It will be followed by an interment at Tunstall Cemetery.
Among those attending the service will be Joanne Leighton, who organised a fund-raising calendar in Ruby's honour.
The 38-year-old, from Kidsgrove, said: "Ruby was loved by everyone whether they knew her or not. She has a place in everyone's heart across North Staffordshire.
"The funeral is going to be a very sad day and I imagine there will be a lot of people there to say goodbye."
Ruby, from Kidsgrove, twice flew to the U.S. for pioneering treatment – paid for by fund-raising efforts in her home town and the wider North Staffordshire area. Together they collected around £250,000.
And funds will continue to flood in as a lasting tribute through sales of a charity single on iTunes.
The song, named 'For Ruby', has been penned by 18-year-old American student Ashley Frangipane with proceeds going to the hospice.
Ashley, from New Jersey, said: "I first heard about Ruby on Twitter and fell in love with this little girl.
"I just knew I needed to do something to help."
Ashley became an internet sensation with her parody of popstar Taylor Swift's song, Trouble.
She added: "I am hoping and praying this time more than one million people will download Ruby's song to raise money for the hospice."
Ashley's efforts have now been praised by the hospice.
Melanie Mills, the Donna Louise Trust's director of fund-raising and PR, said: "It is amazing that a student in the States has found out about our hospice in Stoke-on-Trent and has decided to support us.
"This is a really touching story and we are very grateful to Ashley for donating all the money raised from the song to the charity.
"Any money we raise from this song will go towards funding our work."
The Donna Louise Trust needs to raise £2.4 million a year to provide specialist care and support for hundreds of children just like Ruby.
For Ruby is available for download now for 79p at iTunes
Send your tribute to Ruby to email@example.com