Family’s ongoing legacy in memory of brave Grace

Grace McLoughlin with her dad Daniel
Grace McLoughlin with her dad Daniel
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A leeds donkey sanctuary will always have a special place in the hearts of the McLoughlin family.

Brave Grace McLoughlin was just eight when she died last year after she was admitted to hospital.

The youngster from Ireland Wood, Leeds, had multiple disabilities which left her unable to walk or sit unaided.

Despite that, she was full of fun and determination.

And special riding lessons at Leeds Donkey Sanctuary, based in Eccup, helped to build up Grace’s confidence.

Now, her cousin Sarah Bent is lacing up her running shoes to help raise hundreds of pounds to support the centre which helped to transform Grace’s life.

Sarah, 32, from Horsforth, is taking part in the Colour Me Rad 5k at Harewood.

She hopes that money raised will help the centre continue its work with hundreds of disabled youngsters from across the region every year.

The mother-of-two and Slimming World consultant said: “I just wanted to do something.

“Grace’s passing has really changed my life.

“It prompted me to realise that she really did fight to have a normal life.

“As a family we go to all the events at the sanctuary, and Grace’s confidence changed after she started having lessons.

“She was always beaming around the donkeys.

“We are very happy that we are keeping Grace’s memory alive.”

Grace’s family donated the money they were raising from intense physiotherapy, and a collection from her funeral, to pay for an accessible playground at the centre.

A special swing in Grace’s memory was officially opened by her dad Daniel at the centre last year.

Youngsters from Ireland Wood Primary School, where Grace was a pupil, were the first guests of honour to sample the new playground.

Daniel told the YEP at the time: “We feel very closely linked to the centre and we have got this bond that will last forever as a family.

“It’s just lovely to be able to do something like this especially for the centre that was very close to Grace’s heart.

“It meant so much to Grace, not just physically but emotionally.

“For us to be able to give something back in Grace’s memory is a great honour.”

Grace’s favourite donkey Tinker was even by her side on her final journey, and took pride of place in the youngster’s funeral cortège.

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