A tragic 18-year-old girl’s love for the Tube has inspired her mother and sister to take on an incredible fundraising challenge in her memory.
Ruby Fuller, from Herne Hill, died in May last year after first being diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin lymphoma in July 2019, which later developed into leukaemia.
Her parents, Emma and Dylan, then set up Ruby’s Live Kindly Live Loudly – a special fund at the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), to raise much-needed funds for research into T-cell lymphoma and leukaemia.
They have raised almost £100,000 already in just 12 months.
And on August 18, Emma and Ruby’s younger sister, Tabitha, are taking on the ‘Tube Challenge’ – which involves going through all 270 stations on the London Underground network in a single day.
Emma said: “You have to stop at all the stations, you can’t be on an express train that whizzes through them without stopping, but you don’t have to get off.
“The current world record is just under 16 hours – but just to be clear, we’re not attempting to beat the world record, we just want to get through all the stations in a day.
“Ruby was a born and bred Londoner and she always loved trains, ever since her passion for Thomas the Tank Engine as a toddler.
“She loved working out the quickest route across the Underground network and would argue fiercely with you about the best route – and she was always right.
“She was doing really well at school, and her teachers had suggested she apply to study geography at Oxbridge, and she was torn between doing that and applying to join the apprenticeship scheme at Transport for London.
“But she died just before her A-levels so we’ll never know which she would have chosen.
“As a huge environmentalist, Ruby was also passionate about cutting carbon emissions, and liked that public transport offered a much more environmentally-friendly way to travel than by car.
“She loved London and exploring it. She really liked the design of the Underground, too – the station signs, the Tube seat upholstery – and more than anything she loved the London Underground map, which is a design classic.
“She’d be so jealous of the challenge – I know she’d have loved to do something like this.
“We’ll be taking a photo of her with us, and I’ll be wearing one of her hats to keep her spirit close to us throughout the challenge.”
Completing the challenge means running around 10 miles between stations and requires meticulous planning and support along the way.
Emma said: “We’ve got our route planned and a hotel booked for the night before.
“One of the previous record holders published their route a few years ago. Most people are very secretive about their routes, so we’re roughly following that one.
“The other research I need to do is to work out where there are public toilets along the route.”
They are catching the first train from Amersham at the top of the Metropolitan line at about 5.30am and hope to end up at Heathrow Terminal 5 around midnight.
“We’ve chosen to do it in the middle of August, which may sound a bit bonkers as it could be really hot,” said Emma. “But we needed it to be a weekday as the weekends involve more engineering works and it needed to be in the school holidays for Tabitha – and we didn’t want to wait any longer.”
Pictured top: Ruby and her family during a day out. From left, Ruby, Tabitha (Ruby’s sister), Emma (mum) and Dylan (dad).
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