Sisters are in the running

PUBLISHED: 17:02 08 November 2007 | UPDATED: 15:19 12 May 2010

Sisters Ruby and Grace Russell – Pic: Daniel Wilson 2654DW06

Sisters Ruby and Grace Russell – Pic: Daniel Wilson 2654DW06

TEENAGE sisters who helped their family cope with the death of their mother are among the first entries for Yopey from the Buntingford and Royston area. Ruby and Grace Russell, of Greenways, Buntingford, are now in the running for the £1,000 top prize. T

TEENAGE sisters who helped their family cope with the death of their mother are among the first entries for Yopey from the Buntingford and Royston area.

Ruby and Grace Russell, of Greenways, Buntingford, are now in the running for the £1,000 top prize. They have been nominated by their Guide company, 1st Buntingford.

Their mother, Catherine, 43, was an assistant Guider with the unit until she was diagnosed with cancer in September last year and died in February.

Another assistant Guider, Doreen Milne, said: "After losing their mother, Ruby and Grace continued with normal life as far as was possible.

"Through some difficult months, they provided stability for their younger sister Elizabeth, and their father, Paul."

Both girls joined the Guide movement as soon as they could as Rainbows aged five.

A couple of years after Grace joined, there was a shortage of adult leaders and their mother stepped in to help.

Catherine was soon a regular at weekly meetings and on camps.

This summer 17-year-old Ruby and Grace, 14, took seven-year-old Elizabeth to Guide camp.

Grace said: "Elizabeth slept in our tent. It was quite hard but Elizabeth enjoys camp-ing and she wasn't naughty. It was mainly about getting her up and ready."

Ruby took on her mother's role of quartermaster, buying the food for everyone at camp.

"I did the shopping for about 15 people.

"I also made sure the girls didn't hurt themselves when they cooked on the open fires. It was hard, but I had watched mum do it so I knew what to do."

Ruby, who is 17, is also a young leader to about 30 girls in Buntingford Rainbows.

Grace , 14, helps to run a baby ballet class for toddlers as well as contributing to running activities for the Guides.

The family are members of Bunting-ford United Reform Church.

Dad Paul said: "During all the time that Cathy was in and out of hospital and hospice, we wanted them to continue with their routine.

"We wanted them to understand the importance of keeping going."

Their dad, a 44-year-old manager in the Post Office, summed up the sisters' help since September last year in one word: "Fantastic."

Grace said she would always remember her mum as an "outdoors person".

"She always had really, really good ideas about what to cook on fires."

Ruby said: "She was into nature and having little adventures. If there was a rundown building, we would have a look around."

Doreen said: "Cathy was always very aware of other people's needs, and brought up her daughters to be the same."

- The St John Spencer Young People of the Year in North Herts is open to young people who are positive role models and give to others.

They should be aged 10-25 and live, work or study in North Hertfordshire District or Buntingford area.

For details visit www.yopey.org to nominate or write to PO Box 103, Hare Street, Ware SG9 0NP, enclosing an SAE, for an entry form.

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