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A post about why, if you fancy dessert, you should always order dessert

When Ruby was 13, we had a family holiday with Ruby’s cousins in the gorgeous village of Helford in Cornwall. The kids all did a sailing course - it was one of those bitterly cold weeks where it really didn’t feel like July. They’d come back from sailing with their cheeks glowing & their teeth chattering, arguing over who would get the first hot bath.

And then, more often than not, we’d head to the village pub, the Shipwrights Arms, Helford, for dinner. Ruby would always order the chocolate brownies.

Five years later, the day before Ruby died, in the thick of lockdown, we had a family Zoom quiz. We’d been taking it in turns to set quiz questions. Ruby had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) 10 months earlier - completely out of the blue. She had a very aggressive form of lymphoma which didn't respond to treatment and we'd been told a couple of weeks before that there was no longer any hope of a cure. That day, Ruby was very poorly & quite sleepy, but still fully with it - we had no idea that it would be her last afternoon on earth.

One of the quiz questions (Ruby's uncle Sam was the quiz master that day) was ‘what’s the name of the pub in Helford’. Ruby & I were playing as a team, from her bed. I can’t recall whether we got the pub name right, but I will forever remember that Ruby whispered to me ‘They had the best chocolate brownies’.

Ruby’s dear friend Livvy visited Helford recently. She knew it was a place of happy memories for us & she left a Ruby pebble there. (We have lots of gorgeous goofy photos of Ruby and Livvy together - none at all whether they both have a straight face.)

We checked, & the pub still has chocolate brownies on the menu. (We nicked this photo from their reviews.)

If you’re ever in the area, perhaps stop and have one, and think of Ruby, and how the memories of a fabulous dessert can stay with you right up to your final moments.

Update: when we posted this story on Twitter (March 2024), it went a little bit viral, with 1.7 million views and over 15,000 likes in total. Lots of people replied sharing their own memories of amazing desserts, their fond memories of Helford and the Shipwrights Arms, with many suggesting that the pub rename their brownie in Ruby's memory. We contacted the pub, and they very kindly agreed to do this!

If you've come across Ruby's story via the Shipwrights Arms' fabulous brownies, you can read more about Ruby and the fund for childhood cancer research we've created in her memory here. The NHS spent around £500,000 trying to save Ruby's life. We're hoping to pay that back by raising the same amount to fund research to find kinder & more effective blood cancer treatments. If you'd like to make a donation, here's the link; we're hugely grateful for all the support ❤️

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