Funeral held for prolific fundraiser Kirsty Howard


Funeral of Fundraiser Kirsty Howard Takes Place in Machester

The funeral of prolific fundraiser Kirsty Howard, who was born with her heart back to front, will take place today.

Following her death aged 20 last month, David Beckham and Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to "inspirational" Kirsty for battling the rare condition while she raised millions for charity.

Her parents Lynn and Steve, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, were told she would not live past her fourth birthday.

But she became a tireless campaigner in raising more than £7.5 million for Francis House Children's Hospice in Manchester, originally opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1991.

Her charity work raised the cash necessary for the long-term future of its care for terminally-ill children and support for their parents.

The Kirsty Club was launched to expand and improve the service and as a lasting legacy to her bravery while helping the lives of others.

Celebrity supporters of the appeal included Gloria Hunniford, former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, Davina McCall and opera singer Russell Watson.

Former England captain and Manchester United footballer Beckham first met Kirsty when she was the mascot for England's crucial World Cup qualifier against Greece in 2001 - holding her hand as she walked out onto the pitch with an oxygen tank in tow.

Beckham said later it was Kirsty's bravery that gave him the inspiration to score a superb free-kick in the dying minutes of the vital game.

Kirsty also accompanied Beckham to hand over the ceremonial baton as the Queen opened the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

Her funeral will take place at St Michael & All Angels Church in Northern Moor, Manchester.