Ruth trained in fashion design at Leicester College of Art (now De Montfort University). She was a member of the Pastel Society from 1971-1986. From 1990 she taught sculpture and painting in a Sculpture Group for the visually impaired at Leicester University's Richard Attenborough Centre, now called Attenborough Arts Centre.
There have been eight solo exhibitions of Ruth Cockayne's work in Leicester and more solo exhibitions in Melton Mowbray, Brackley and Northampton. Her paintings are held in private and public collections and she exhibits in galleries across the East Midlands, where she was an active member of the Leicestershire Pastel Society.
Ruth Cockayne died on 8th October 2020.