Deri Rundle, founder of the David Rundle Trust, died on December 21 at her home in Westward Ho!

An inspirational North Devon woman who worked tirelessly with poor communities in Rwanda has died.

Dorothy Rundle - known as Deri - died peacefully at home on December 21 with her daughter Leigh by her side.

Deri, from Westward Ho!, set up the David Rundle Trust in memory of her late husband in 2001.

Terry Adams, secretary of the trust, said in a statement on their website: “Deri was someone very special and will be long remembered by everyone that knew her.

Deri Rundle with her memoirs, Never Again.Deri Rundle with her memoirs, Never Again.

“There will be a funeral service at 11am, December 31, 2016 at St. Mary’s Church, Appledore, which was a date that held a special meaning for Deri.

“All donations to the North Devon Children’s Hospice and St Mary’s Church, Appledore.”

Charity stalwart

Deri in Rwanda testing water from the new pipeline.Deri in Rwanda testing water from the new pipeline.

Deri was always happy to regale people with tales of her work in Rwanda, and in 2012 she published her memoirs, Never Again.

She would visit Rwanda each year, and her charitable work took place mainly in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.

In 2015 she became one of only two people to receive a British Citizen Award in the South West for her charitable work.

Deri’s hands-on work included helping to build a community health centre and helping to install clean drinking water facilities.

Her house was always brimming with donations for table top sales and often hosted coffee mornings to fundraise for the trust.

In her work she was tireless, and she never let being a woman in her 80s stop her from revisiting the Rwandan communities she loved.

In her decade-and-a-half of visits to the once worn-torn country, Deri could see a glimmer of hope – and she was prepared to stop at nothing to carry out her work.

‘Inspirational and courageous’

Further tributes have been coming in for ‘inspiraional’ Deri.

Friend Ruth Harrison said: “I gradually learnt about her love of Rwanda, and the fact that despite a gruelling journey, she returned there every year to give both financial and personal support to the projects that she had helped set up.

“She was a truly amazing woman and I am one of the many many people who will miss her.”

And family friend Phil Vanstone added Deri was a ‘wonderful woman’.

Suzanne Lyons said: “Deri was an inspirational, courageous lady who helped many people; she was always cheerful and an inspired all who came in contact with her.

“The Inner Wheel Club of Barnstaple were pleased and proud to be able to support her charitable work. She will be missed by many.”

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