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Doctor Ruth Lee 'diamond' of practice and loved by patients, says colleague

By Jenna Gardiner

The funeral of a doctor who died of cancer last week will take place today in Antrim.

Ruth Joanne Lee died peacefully last Friday at the Macmillan Cancer Unit in Antrim Hospital after a period of illness.

The 40-year-old was a GP at Oriel Surgery in Antrim and will today be laid to rest in High Street Presbyterian Church.

Staff at the surgery are devastated by the loss of their colleague, and described Ruth, who operated under the name Dr Little, as the "diamond" of the practice.

The Antrim woman had recently celebrated her 40th birthday, and was off on maternity leave after giving birth just over seven months ago.

Colleagues at the surgery were aware of her illness and are deeply saddened by her passing.

Dr Jeevan Jayaprakash was both a colleague and a personal friend of Dr Little.

He recalled how himself and Ruth had studied together at Antrim Grammar School, and since then had worked together in the surgery for the past six years.

He said Ruth was "greatly loved by both her patients and all the staff here".

"She was a friend to us all as well as a colleague", Mr Jayaprakash said.

"Ruth was a warm and pleasantly natured person, who was very caring and empathetic towards all of her patients."

Dr Little had been suffering from a form of cancer, and her family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to be made to Cancer Research.

Dr Jayaprakash said that in her time at Oriel surgery, Ruth managed a range of patients with widespread medical problems and many who also had terminal illnesses.

Ruth was the dearly loved wife of Chris (Lee) and devoted mother of James, Thomas, Benjamin and Abigail.

Her funeral service will be conducted by Rev Stephen Lockington of First Antrim Presbyterian Church, where Ruth attended with her family.

It is being held in High Street Presbyterian due to renovations at First Antrim.

Rev Lockington paid tribute to Mrs Lee, saying "Ruth had an inspirational, strong and healthy faith, not least in the face of struggle and frailty".

He added that their service on Sunday was an extremely sad one, "as the First Antrim Presbyterian family comes to terms with Ruth's death".

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