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Saoírse Ruane

Saoírse Ruane, 12, described as ‘wonderful little angel’ at her funeral

Saoírse died peacefully at her home last week.

SAOÍRSE RUANE, WHO inspired the annual Late Late Toy Show appeal, has been described as a “wonderful little angel” at her funeral in Co Galway.

The 12-year-old, from Kiltullagh, died at her home on Tuesday years after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Saoírse won the nation’s hearts when she appeared on the Toy Show during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and spoke about her fight with cancer.

She had been diagnosed with a rare form of the disease and had to have her right leg amputated.

It was Saoírse who inspired the launch of the Toy Show Appeal, which has led to millions of euros being raised.

An online post last week said Saoírse died peacefully at her home in the arms of her heartbroken parents, Ollie and Roseanna.

People lined up outside Saints Peter and Paul’s Church in Kiltullagh, while pupils from  Saoirse’s Kiltullagh National School and members of a local GAA club formed a guard of honour outside the church.

The funeral cortege was led by two garda motorbikes.

featureimage Saoírse’s father Ollie and mourners carry the coffin at her funeral at St Peter and Paul’s Church, Kiltullagh, Co Galway Eamon Ward / PA Eamon Ward / PA / PA

Former Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy, who became a friend of Saoirse after she appeared on the RTE show, travelled from London to attend the funeral.

Addressing those gathered for the funeral, Fr Declan McInerney said Saoírse was now the “Saint of Kiltullagh”.

He also welcomed Col Stephen Howard, Aide-de-Camp of President Michael D Higgins, which he said provided comfort to Saoírse’s family.

In an Instagram post, her mother wrote today alongside a picture of the pair: “One last Mother’s Day with you before you go.

“So grateful to have you today Saoírse.”

In a social media last week, Roseanna said: “When there are no words. After a long, courageous and dignified battle, our hearts are shattered to tell you our beautiful little Saoírse took her final breath in our arms on Tuesday.

Former Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy said: “We became friends instantly when we met. She told her story, the nation fell in love with her and a charity began because of her and with that, she helped enrich and encourage the lives of thousands of children in Ireland.

“A selfless, humble, kind, optimistic and thoughtful child.

“She was everything we should and could be as a country and her passing will put so much into perspective for so many of us.

“The world is a poorer place without Saoírse but I do hope that twinkle in her eye shines on and on.”

At the end of Friday’s Late Late show, host Patrick Kielty said that Saoírse lit up TV screens and the lives of her family and friends.

“When Saoírse inspired the very first Toy Show appeal back then, little did any of us know that she was going to start something amazing,” he said.

“In just four short years she would help so many children and their families across Ireland.

“We know her light will continue to shine for so many years to come.

“From everyone on the Late Late Show, we send our love tonight to Saoírse’s family.” 

Press Association