We’ve sent our congratulations and thanks to Mark Burrell, from Yatton in North Somerset, who has been fundraising for us for the last eight years in memory of his daughter Ruby, who lost her life on 17 January 2010 at just 21 months old.
“Ruby was such a happy child, full of cheeky smiles and giggles,” he said. “She touched the heart of everyone who knew her."
“From being well in the morning, swimming and playing, Ruby started to feel unwell in the afternoon. She sat quietly with her big sister Millie watching her favourite Peppa Pig cartoon."
“We spotted a small bruise on her arm later that night and, whilst on the phone to the hospital, a rash started to appear."
“Despite taking her straight to hospital, Ruby died from this terrible disease in a matter of hours.”
Annual golf day
Since then, Mark, together with other family members and friends, has thrown himself into fundraising, with each year a golf day raising money towards our lifesaving and life-changing work – funding research, raising awareness and supporting people living with the impact of the disease.
This year’s golf day, the eighth, took place earlier this month at Tall Pines Golf Club, near Bristol. It attracted 180 golfers and raised £12,658, pushing Mark’s fundraising to date to £113,391.
“I’d like to thank everybody who has taken part in our golf days or any of our events over the years and helped us to raise so much money and awareness in Ruby’s memory,” Mark added.
Trek up Snowdon
The first big fundraiser in Ruby’s memory in 2010 was a trek up Snowdon, which Mark completed with 17 friends. Since then Ruby’s sisters Abbie and Millie have organised discos and friends and family members have undertaken sponsored cycle rides, including from Paris to Yatton, and runs, including the London Marathon, Bristol half marathon and Bristol 10k.
Ruby’s antenatal group walked the Strawberry Line and have also organised horse drawn carriage rides. Ruby’s Great Uncle Elwyn raised over £8,000 by organising a series of concerts and Mark himself has undertaken skydives and fire walking, raising £3,000.
The Village Club in Yatton has also pitched in, holding discos, quiz nights and raffles while Clevedon Flower Club has also supported the family’s efforts.
Touched so many people
“Ruby touched so many people in her short life and it’s wonderful that they are prepared to give so much back in her memory,” Mark added. “It’s important to us that some good comes out of losing Ruby and that we can make an impact on this disease and stop other families from feeling the pain we feel every day since losing her.”
The determined fundraiser is not finished yet. The successful golf day will be back next year and the next big event is in October, when Mark’s friend Chris Broome will be taking on the Barcelona Ironman for Ruby’s fund. To support his efforts visit the fund page at https://ruby-burrell.muchloved.com
Tom Nutt, our chief executive, has congratulated Mark on breaking through the £100k milestone. “What a fantastic achievement,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Mark and everyone who has been involved in his golf days and other events over the years. It’s impossible to overestimate the impact their fundraising has had on our research and awareness work.”
“Ruby’s sad story shows how quickly meningitis can strike and the devastation it causes."
“Their efforts will make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”