AN inspirational Ledbury teenager who suffered from a life-limiting illness is continuing to help others through her legacy – one year after her death.

Caitlin Ronan, who lived in Wellington Heath, near Ledbury, died aged 17 last November following a severe chest infection.

Despite suffering from a progressive neurological disease called CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) and spending the last few years of her life in bed, she was able to maintain a degree of independence and communicate through an 'Eyegaze' system which she fundraised for herself.

But she did not stop there and was passionate about helping others to benefit from the system – successfully raising more than £34,000 before she died.

Her mum, Louise Ronan, said: "Caitlin’s absolute determination to get the most out of her dreadfully short and sometimes very difficult life can be evidenced by the many charitable causes she was involved in and that we as a family continue in her name."

She added: "Before Caitlin’s death we had bought an Eyegaze for Caitlin plus given away a further two to Finlay, 11, from Aberdeen, and Myzat, aged five, from London.

"Since then it has been my aim to ensure Caitlin’s own Eyegaze System found a new home and that the remaining fundraising was used to benefit other young people in a similar situation to Caitlin.

"I am delighted to say that, with the wonderful help of Neil Fitzgerald from Smartbox in Malvern, Caitlin’s system was donated to a young lady and that a further three Eyegaze systems have been donated."

Those three Eyegaze systems went to Millie, 13, from Hereford; Courtney, 19, a teenager who lives in Ledbury; and Matthew, 13, a young lad who lives in Telford and appeared on DIY SOS: The Big Build.

Louise said: "The story of him and his family resonated with me and I knew Caitlin would be telling me to contact him and see if we could help and luckily we could."

Funds have also been raised in Caitlin's memory, through 'Caitlin's Stars' for the London-based Graeae Theatre Company which offers opportunities to disabled actors – another cause Caitlin was passionate about.

A new award in appreciation and recognition of Caitlin’s remarkable courage and endeavour will also be presented in her name at her former school, John Masefield High School in Ledbury.

The award, which is named ‘The Caitlin Ronan Award for Courage and Endeavour’ will be presented to a student each year at presentation evening.

A Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree has also been planted in Caitlin's honour in Pool Piece by her close village friends.