Funeral relief for family

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The funeral for an Oamaru girl killed in a vehicle collision involving a tourist driver was a lovely farewell of her life, Father Wayne Healey says.

More than 450 people gathered to farewell Ruby Jay Marris, 5, at St Patrick’s Basilica yesterday morning.

Ruby died and her parents and sisters were seriously injured following a two-vehicle collision on SH1 near Moeraki on Saturday, February 21.

Fr Healey said the funeral was a very sad occasion but it was also a lovely farewell to Ruby.

“I feel it has given some relief to the family.

“It was a celebration of little Ruby’s life.”

A pre-recorded video of pupils from Ardgowan School, which Ruby attended, singing her favourite song was played at the funeral, he said.

After the service, Ruby’s pink casket, covered in colourful balloon flowers, was taken to a private burial at Oamaru Cemetery where five balloons (representing each year of her short life) were released, Fr Healey said.

Ruby’s death has struck a chord with many people in Oamaru who want to see a change in tourist driving laws.

A number of Oamaruvians have voiced their concerns on social media and have also made their views known via a petition which is available to sign at the Oamaru Mail until March 17.

More than 130 people have signed the petition since it was made available in the Oamaru Mail office, 48 Thames St, on Monday.

The petition, calling for a tourist driving law reformed, was created by 10-year-old Sean Roberts last year after his father was killed in an accident in 2012.

Sean and his younger brother Cody will be appearing before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on March 19.

A 32-year-old Beijing resident, who was granted name suppression, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing injury following the crash in which Ruby died.

He appeared in the Dunedin District Court on February 23 and was remanded on bail to reappear on March 13.

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD – Family and friends farewell Oamaru girl Ruby Jay Marris, 5, at St Patrick’s Basilica in Oamaru yesterday morning.

By Ruby Harfield