A SPECIAL little girl, who died from an aggressive form of brain cancer last year, has inspired dozens of Swindon College students to start fundraising.

About 60 health and social care and access students heard a presentation yesterday from Annette Shakespeare, whose 10-year-old daughter, Ruby, lost her battle with cancer in July last year.

Annette set up Ruby’s Fat Cow Fund in her daughter’s memory, to raise funds for four charities that helped the family during their fight for Ruby’s life.

“Ruby was a very normal girl. She was very arty, loved Harry Potter and sausage and chips and she loved walking the dog with Grandad.

“She was eight years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour,” said Annette.

“We feel something positive has got to come out of all this. Her life and death couldn’t be for nothing.

“This kind of disease has got to stop. There are limited treatments for brain tumours. The hope is that we can change things and one day there will be a cure.”

Ruby’s Fat Cow Fund aims to raise money for four charities – CALM, the children’s cancer and leukaemia movement, the Brain Tumour Charity, CLIC Sargent and Ronald McDonald House.

The fund has raised nearly £12,000 since it was set up about a year ago.

Images of the Lethbridge Primary School pupil’s drawing of a fat cow, which is the logo of the fund, are available on badges, wristbands, trolley tokens, plectrums and shopping bags.

Annette told the students about fundraising activities that have been held and sponsored events people have taken part in to raise money, with the most successful one raising £3,000.

“It’s not just about raising money, it is about raising awareness of the fund and the charities we support,” said Annette.

Health and social care student Rebekah Avery, 17, said she had been inspired by Ruby’s story.

“It was really moving how Ruby’s mum told her story and how she is staying really strong now, even though it didn’t happen that long ago,” she said.

“I just think it is amazing that she set up a fund and she is trying hard to make sure other people don’t go through what she did.”

She added: “I am going to talk to college and see if I can hold a concert to raise money.”

Health and social care lecturer Lisa Lawlor said: “This year, the health and social care and access department is going to support Ruby’s Fat Cow Fund.

“We are going to try and do a lot of fundraising over the year and, hopefully, reach or exceed a target of £1,000.”

Ruby’s Fat Cow Fund will be running a stall at the Farmers Market at the Designer Outlet on Sunday, November 25.

For information, or to donate, visit www.rubysfatcowfund.co.uk or email rubysfatcowfund@gmail.com.