More than 150 people braved temperatures of more than 30 degrees to officially mark a section of the Guild Wheel being dedicated to a Preston runner.Advertisement
Ben Ashworth died in July last year following a five-year battle with bowel cancer.
During this time Ben ran dozens of marathons and half marathons to raise money for cancer charities.
Following a petition, signed by thousands of Prestonians, both Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council agreed to name one of Ben’s favourite running routes after him.
The 2.5km stretch of the Wheel, a 21-mile cycling, walking and running route around the city, is now the Ben Ashworth Way section.
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A plaque to Ben was unveiled by his widow Louise Ashworth during a ceremony at the entrance to Miller Park on Sunday (1 July).
Speaking to Blog Preston she said: “People say ‘how are you?’, I had a bit of a meltdown last night but now I am much better.
“This is what he wanted to do, bring together and get them moving.
“I would like to say Ben would be really humble about all this but I know that actually he would be so excited about the plaque and the naming after him.
“The last year has just been a real rollercoaster. We grieved periodically for five years while everything was going on, this has been a real time of remembering and refocusing and saying we do have this time to live as a family.”
Speeches were also made by councillor Peter Kelly, whose ward the plaque is in, and he paid tribute to the late council leader councillor Peter Rankin who helped to push for the naming of the section of the route.
You can watch the unveiling and an interview with Louise Ashworth below
Ben Ashworth memorial stretch of Guild Wheel unveiling
Posted by Blog Preston on Sunday, 1 July 2018
Mayor of Preston councillor Trevor Harte made a short speech thanking everyone for attending and unveiled the plaque itself.
A second plaque to mark the end of the route has been put into a stone at the 2.5km mark of the Guild Wheel.
Runners and walkers from across Lancashire then set off on the 5km round trip to the memorial stone and back to the Continental to enjoy a well-earned pint and raise hundreds of pounds for Rosemere and Beating Bowel Cancer.
Among those were Chorlton Runners Claire Purcell, Helen Stevens and Sarah Stephenson.
Claire said: “We knew Ben through the running club and he would regularly join us for runs.
“A lot of us at the club have come along today to show our support for Louise and to help raise money for the charity.
“I think we’ll be doing a bit of running but it’s so hot we may well walk a lot of the route.”
Also joining the dozens taking part on the route along Broadgate was Sandra Rolston from Longridge.
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She said: “I lost my mother to bowel cancer and I joined a support group via Twitter and that’s how I started following Ben.
“He was just fantastic and I remember fondly when he was doing his Three Peaks challenge and he cycled between them.
“We knew where we lived he would be coming past and I was there to cheer him on, and he stopped for a chat. That was Ben all over. Always had time for everyone.
“I am glad so many people turned out and we’ve been able to do this for him.”