BRIGHT colours could be seen all around Castle Combe Circuit as crowds gathered to celebrate the life of four-year-old Rosie Simpson on Sunday.

Rosie, a former Springboard Opportunity Group pupil in Chippenham, died last October, and her parents organised the Rainbow Race and Ride in partnership with Springboard to be a colourful celebration of her life.

She had a stroke before she was born, leaving her with severe brain damage.

Hundreds of people turned out wearing the brightest, most garish outfits to raise money for Springboard, the charity which had supported Rosie and her family since she was six months old.

“It was certainly a sight to behold,” Springboard manager Jane Boulton said. “There was a party atmosphere from start to finish.

“Everybody had made such an effort. We had people dressed as teddy bears, unicorns, we even had someone dressed as Willy Wonka.

“There were rainbow-coloured wigs, tutus, baubles, roses and neon colours everywhere.

“Seeing all those people decked out in their rainbow colours lined up on the start line will be an image that stays with us for a very long time. “

Rosie’s mum, Lucy Simpson, said that events like this help Rosie’s memory to live on.

“It was absolutely amazing. There was a nice vibe going on and people were asking if it is going to be an annual thing because it was so popular so we shall see.

“I think it touched people when they heard the story about her.

“Because it was so busy on the lead-up to the day it didn’t hit me until the Saturday I was actually doing this for Rosie.

“It wasn’t a day of dwelling, it was a happy memorial.”

In the run-up to the event, hundreds of individuals and community groups knitted and crocheted roses for people to buy and wear on the day.

The Roses for Rosie campaign has became an unexpected hit, gaining a strong following from all over the world.

“They were very popular, people made hair bands and broaches.”

Springboard business administrator Anne Farraell, said: “The event has really touched peoples’ hearts.

“The day exceeded all our expectations, it was the largest event we have attempted as a charity to date and we couldn’t have pulled it off without the collaboration and support we have had from local people and businesses, many of whom generously gave up their time or donated supplies and equipment for free.

“It has been a heart-warming reminder of what a great local community we have here in the South West.”

Initial estimates are that the Rainbow Run and Ride has raised well in excess of £9,000, although sponsorship money is still coming in. All the money raised from the event and the sale of the ‘Roses for Rosie’ will go to Springboard Opportunity Group to enable them to continue supporting the families of children with complex disabilities and special needs.

Springboard would also be very interested to hear from any local businesses or organisations who would be willing to give a home to the handmade roses for members of the public to by.

Businesses interested in being part of the Roses for Rosie campaign, please contact Springboard on 01249 657145.