'She died alone': Plea to raise funds for Ruth who died before Christmas
- Credit: Mark White
A couple who made a "loving, free-spirited" Norwich woman a part of their family are appealing for support to pay for the 37-year-old's funeral.
Ruth Mantripp was discovered in her flat in Pengrove, off Aylsham Road, a week before Christmas.
Mark White and his wife Sam were friends of Ruth for 28 years and have taken it upon themselves to try and raise enough funds for her funeral.
Mark, 46, said: "Ruth was a free-spirited woman who loved animals. She said life was meant to be fun.
"She was so kind even though she went through a lot.
"She was registered blind at a very young age which gradually got worse.
"On top of that she was also diagnosed with epilepsy, asthma and type two diabetes."
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When Ruth lost her parents and later her brother as a teenager, Mr and Mrs White treated her as their own sibling.
He said: "We basically adopted her after her parents passed away.
"When I met Sam, Ruth was basically part of the package of being with her because they were childhood friends - and Ruth never took life too seriously."
As Ruth got older and her fits became worse she found it harder to get out.
Mark added: "Ruth became more housebound and felt very lonely but she always tried to keep her friends close.
"But as she was getting more and more reclusive it was hard for her to make relationships in the real world."
Then just before Christmas a friend came round to help take Ruth's dog for a walk and found her in the bathroom.
Mark said: "She had already bought Christmas presents which were all wrapped up.
"It's so sad that no one was there to help her when she needed it - she's got no family to pay for her funeral which is why we have taken it on."
He added: "We don't have a lot of money but there's a sense of duty for us.
"It seems harsh for her to not get a proper burial because she has no appointed next of kin.
"The whole ordeal was eye-opening - we didn't realise the predicament she was in."