Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

We are devastated at loss of our precious Ruby, says family of schoolgirl who died on trip to Scotland

Ruby Dench, the 11-year-old girl who died suddenly on a school trip in the Highlands
Ruby Dench, the 11-year-old girl who died suddenly on a school trip in the Highlands
Victor Robinson
Ruby Dench was in her final year at Whiteabbey Primary School.
Whiteabbey Primary School headmaster Peter Wright
The school group was visiting an outdoor centre at Loch Insh in Scotland

The family of an 11-year-old girl who died during a school trip to Scotland have said they have been left devastated by their loss of their "precious Ruby".

Ruby Dench, a pupil at Whiteabbey Primary School, died suddenly on Wednesday during a visit to the Highlands.

She was one of 58 children staying at Loch Insh Outdoor Activity Centre, near Aviemore, when she was found unconscious.

Efforts were made to resuscitate her, but she was pronounced dead at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

In a statement her heartbroken family asked to be left alone to mourn the loss of their treasured child. It stated: "We are obviously devastated at the loss of our precious Ruby. Due to the distance involved and due process required, funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed.

"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this terrible time."

A post-mortem examination to establish the cause of Ruby's death was carried out yesterday. It's understood the results of this will be released today. Then arrangements can be made for her body to be returned to her family.

Yesterday evening a Crown Office spokesman in Scotland said: "The Procurator Fiscal has received a report in connection with the death of an 11-year-old girl in Inverness on May 8, 2013. The investigation into the death, under the direction of Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, is ongoing and the family will continue to be kept updated in relation to significant developments."

Teachers and pupils from the school returned home on Wednesday evening. Whiteabbey principal Peter Wright paid tribute, calling Ruby "exceptional, bright, vivacious and talented".

Mayor of Newtownabbey Victor Robinson said the council had written to the school to offer support to staff and pupils and to extend its sympathy to Ruby's family.

Mr Robinson added people in the borough were thinking of her family. He said: "I was very shocked to learn of Ruby's death. I have grandchildren around the same age and I know how I would feel. It's so very sad."

Stormont's Education Committee Chairman Mervyn Storey said: "On behalf of the Education committee, I'd like to express our sadness at the death of a pupil from Whiteabbey Primary School and pass on our condolences.

"This is a distressing time for the family and for pupils and staff of the school.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them."

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