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Dozens of people are expected in Ruislip to pay their respects at the funeral of brave schoolgirl Jess Shepherd who died after a long battle with a rare cancer.

The 10-year-old, from Ruislip Gardens, passed away on September 7 after battling neuroblastoma, which mainly affects babies and young children, for seven years .

When Jess, who had a "zest for life", and her famly were told the heartbreaking news that her condition was terminal, the young girl decided she wanted to plan her own "FUNeral", including picking her favourite song 'Roar' by Katy Perry to be played at the ceremony.

The funeral will be held at 12.15pm at Breakspear Crematorium, on Breakspear Road in Ruislip, on Thursday (September 27), with an overflow area in the north chapel available for members of the public who wish to attend and pay their respects without a personal invitation.

Jess' grandmother, Louise Walker, paid tribute to the young girl who was "always smiling".

"She had little sayings like 'don't be sad, it's a waste of a day' and 'if you worry, you can't enjoy life' and she really did live exactly how she said things. She tried not to worry, she was a very brave girl," Louise said.

"Jess inspired other people, they would say that if she could manage then so could they."

We have been invited to attend the funeral by Jess' family and to share updates from the day for those who cannot be there in person.

A lovely gesture

One of today’s organisers has announced the area will remain pink for a week.

She took to Facebook group Harefield in your Heart to say: “We have decided to stay pink for a week in respect of Jess
“We will then start the take down. For all those still not signed the book it will be in We Love Coffee until next Friday.

“[Please] share your pictures and videos on Jess’s story and this post so I can print them off for the memory book.”

The pink hearse

Mourners watching on as Jess is carried in a pink hearse
Mourners watching on as Jess is carried in a pink hearse (Image: Suzy Flood)

Lovely photos show the beautiful tributes for Jess Shepherd

Amazing and colourful tributes were given in memory of Jess at her funeral. Her favourite colour, pink, was the major colour picked for the lovely flowers placed in her honour.

Flowers laid out for Jess

Flowers laid out for the much-loved young girl
Flowers laid out for the much-loved young girl (Image: Jake Darling)

Grandmother's thanks

Jess’ grandmother Louise Walker has thanked all the people who have decorated Haresfield and Ruislip “so beautifully” in pink.

She said: “You made us cry in the car all the way here.”

She also thanked Jess’ Haresfield school: “She loved school so much, and they supported her so so well. I do not think a day ever went by when she did not want to be at school. There were times when I had to say you are not going and she would not speak to me for hours.”

“Biggest thanks is to Jess’ medical teams who have worked tirelessly over the last four years.

“Her consultant went above and beyond and tried every single thing to get her into remission, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”

10-year-old Jess is very ill and wants a tweet from Ariana Grande more than anything
(Image: Rachael Wells photography)

'Roar'

‘Roar’ by Katy Perry has been playing. The song, with “lyrics which could have been written for jess” has a special significance, partly as Jess’ favourite song, but even more so after Katy Perry dedicated a performance of the song to the brave youngster back in June.

Many celebrities sent Jess special messages of support after being contacted by her family and friends via social media.

Comedian David Walliams, BBC radio DJ Sara Cox and Coleen Rooney all replied to requests to tweet Jess with heartfelt messages of admiration and support.

'She insisted on living life to the fullest'

The song ‘Circle of Life’, famous from the Lion King soundtrack, has been played to start the service. Jess’s mum Daniel said a short prayer and she told those gathered: “I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have shown Jess over the years. Despite the hand she was dealt, she always insisted on living life to the fullest”.

'Roar'

Flowers spelling out ‘Jessica’ are displayed in the window of the hearse, with more flowers spelling out ‘roar’.

Flower displays spell out 'Jessica'
Flower displays spell out 'Jessica' (Image: Vicky Munro)

Harefield decorated in memory of Jess

The community in Harefield has got together to decorate as much of the area as possible in pink in memory of Jess.

Suzy Flood, who took the photos, wrote on social media: “Moved beyond words today.
”When a little girl’s smile and laughter brought a village, and people from across the world, together. Pink ribbons have been put up in Harefield in honour and memory of the very beautiful Jess who tragically lost her battle with neuroblastoma, age 10. RIP beautiful.”

Shops and businesses in Harefield have been decorated in memory of Jess Shepherd
Shops and businesses in Harefield have been decorated in memory of Jess Shepherd (Image: Suzy Flood)
A banner created in honour of Jess Shepherd at a roadside in Harefield
A banner created in honour of Jess Shepherd at a roadside in Harefield (Image: Suzy Flood)

Family overwhelmed by support

Louise Walker, Jess’ gran, said: “Since her death, we have had amazing support, especially in Harefield and Ruislip. I have not seen it myself but I’m told Harefield has gone completely pink for her because it was her favourite colour and Ruislip is doing the same.

“She’s even going to be in a pink hearse tomorrow so it will be very special.”

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to our updates from the funeral of 10-year-old Jess Shepherd.

Jess wanted to make sure today was a day of celebration, not sadness, so she planned her own “FUNeral” ceremony and said she does not want people to cry.

Her grandmother, Louise Walker said: “Jess organised her own funeral when she realised that there was not anymore hope. We had lots of difficult conversations and she told us exactly what she wanted, which made it less hard for us.

“She said she did not want anyone to be sad and she wanted them to have fun, although I told her I couldn’t promise that no one would cry. She chose her own music, including her favourite song ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry, which she always said was written about her, because she wanted a lot of dancing.”

Jess died aged 10 of untreatable cancer
Jess died aged 10 of untreatable cancer (Image: Rachael Wells photography)