The funeral of a charity fundraiser, who was given just weeks to live at the age of four but lived to the age of 20, has been held. Kirsty Howard, who was one of only two people in the world to be born with a back to front heart, died on the 24th of October at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Kirsty was an inspirational fundraiser throughout her twenty years and she raised millions of pounds for Francis House children’s hospice in Manchester, from where her funeral cortege departed.
As the horse drawn funeral cortege pulled up to the church it was met by scores of people who had assembled to pay tribute to the influential Miss Howard. Opera singer Russell Watson, ‘Royle Family’ star Sue Johnstone and a whole host of coronation Street members attended the young woman’s funeral. Following the service at St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Wythenshawe, Miss Howard’s family stated in the order of service, “special thanks to Mr. Al-Fayed for his generosity towards Kirsty’s funeral”.
Through her work she helped raise more than £7.5m to go towards the hospice’s long-term future in helping to care for terminally ill children, Kirsty was also the face of the appeal. As a young girl Kirsty found fame by presenting the Queen with the 2002 Commonwealth Games baton in Manchester. She was also accompanied with David Beckham when she handed the baton to the Queen at the opening ceremony of the games. Beckham paid homage to Kirsty by posting on Instagram, he said “we have spent some amazing moments together over the years and it was an inspiration to meet such a brave young lady with so much drive for helping others”.
Miss Howard had also spearheaded a fundraising campaign under the charity ‘The Kirsty Club’, which launched in order to help the lives of others whilst reminding people of the legacy that she has left behind. Celebrity supporters of the charity include Gloria Hunniford, former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed and presenter Davina McCall.
TNT News Billy Rooney