Memorial service celebrates life of Ben Ashworth

Posted on - 15th July, 2017 - 10:45pm | Author - | Posted in - Broadgate, Charities, People, Preston News, What's On in Preston
A memorial to Ben at the Cathedral
A memorial to Ben at the Cathedral

Ben Ashworth would of been ‘giddy’ looking around a cathedral packed to the rafters in memory of him and his staggering achievements.


A celebration of Ben’s life was read out by those who knew him best – including an emotional tribute from his wife Louise.

38-year-old Ben died on Sunday 2 July after a five year battle with bowel cancer. He had been told he had months to live. Ben defied the odds.

Blackburn Cathedral being full at 5.30pm on Saturday (15 July) was testament to how many people Ben inspired and touched during his life.

Runners arrived in full kit to send off a man who ran 24 marathons in 24 months. An incredible achievement made even more so by the fact he was receiving chemotherapy at the time.

Red Rose Runners turned out to pay tribute to Ben
Red Rose Runners turned out to pay tribute to Ben

Grace Ashworth, Ben’s sister, said before the memorial service on Saturday he would be ‘giddy’ to see so many people turn out.

She said: “My brother was always just trying to get the word out about bowel cancer. His spirit was second to none.

“Seeing all these people gathered here then I think he would be so excited. Just giddy. He loved seeing people come together.”

Ben Ashworth and his sister Grace (right)
Ben Ashworth and his sister Grace (right)

Organised by his wife Louise the service heard from those who knew Ben at various stages of his life.

Ben was also a frequent guest on BBC Radio Lancashire and presenter Graham Liver addressed the congregation.

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Read more: Preston wants a Ben Ashworth Way – let’s make it happen

He was joined by fellow presenter John Gillmore who before the service reflected on his time with Ben.

Gilly said: “Seeing all these people here today shows just what an impact Ben and his story had.

“I will never forget our chats on air and the first time he came in wearing those cheeky bum pants of his.

“His running exploits were just something else. I remember one of the Christmas runs two years ago when he had done the Guild Wheel twice or something and then joined us all for a 5k!”

Read more: ‘I keep thinking what would Ben say?’ – Louise opens up on the loss of Ben

Ben’s wife Louise attended with Ben’s three daughters and before the service she told Blog Preston readers via Facebook Live just how thankful she was.

She said: “It is wonderful to see so many people here for Ben. I am just so glad and all the messages. There is just so much love.”

Inside the Cathedral for the memorial service
Inside the Cathedral for the memorial service

The service titled A Service Celebrating the Faith, Life, Love and Service of Ben Ashworth included words and prayers by the Bishop of Blackburn the Right Revered Julian Henderson, tributes from Ben’s father Phil, brother Tom, sister Grace and mother Rachel.

His former colleagues at Blackburn library Kath Sutton and Adele Karwat told of Ben’s working life.


Ben’s neighbours in Broadgate Faizal Musa and Ismail Timol spoke about living by the Ashworth’s.

Simon King, the best friend of Ben, explained about his relationship with church and faith.

Read more: Ben Ashworth made a ‘Friend of the City of Preston’

Dr Shabbir Susnerwala – always described by Ben as his ‘Indian uncle’ spoke of the cancer diagnosis and the treatment Ben received.

Chorlton Running Club reflected on Ben’s marathon achievements and Graham Liver also spoke on this subject and the incredible story Ben had to tell.

There were also tributes from Pita Oates of Cuerden Valley Park Run, Fay Morne his partner in crime and Mark Flanagan of charity Beating Bowel Cancer who Ben raised so much money for.

TV presenter Matthew Wright sent a video message for the service.

You can leave your tributes in the comments below and if you’d like to donate in Ben’s memory you can via this donation link

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