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Guard of honour outside church for Saoírse Ruane funeral


Dozens of people have lined up outside Ss Peter and Paul’s Church in Kiltullagh, Co Galway, for the arrival of Saoírse Ruane’s funeral cortège.

The small church is already full of mourners for the funeral mass of 12-year-old Saoírse, who died on Tuesday following a long illness.

Pupils from Kiltullagh National School, where Saoírse had attended, and members of the local athletics and GAA clubs formed a guard of honour outside the church.

Saoírse was the inspiration for the annual Late Late Toy Show appeal. Former Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy is in attendance at the funeral.

She captured the hearts of the nation when she appeared on the 2020 Toy Show and spoke about her fight against cancer.

Coming deep in the middle of the pandemic, her courage and bravery resonated far and wide, as she outlined the story of how she had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, an osteosarcoma tumour on her fibula, in late 2019.

She was just seven at the time.

The treatment led to intensive chemotherapy and the amputation of her right leg.

Saoírse had been fitted with a prosthetic and displayed a quiet reliance and determination when she was interviewed that night, along with her mother Roseanna.

Her story was among those to the fore later that evening, when the first Toy Show Appeal was launched.

Over €6 million was donated in a matter of hours and since then more than €17.5 million has been raised by the annual appeal.

Last March she was the Grand Marshal at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Galway, leading a march of hundreds of people through the city streets; a mark of the standing she was held in by people in the region.

Late last year in a social media post, her family said that was undergoing more treatment and asked people to keep them in their thoughts and prayers.

In a post on Instagram, the family said their “beautiful little Saoírse” died after a “long courageous and dignified battle”.


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