Preston Guild Wheel Walk raises record amount in memory of Keenan Ayra

Posted on - 7th April, 2024 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Leyland, Preston News, South Ribble News
Walkers at this year’s Preston Guild Wheel Walk. Pic: Laura Pilkington

The Preston Guild Wheel Walk returned for its eighth year on Good Friday, raising over £5,000 in memory of Keenan Ayra.

The current total already marks a new record for the annual event that was dedicated to Keenan following his death last year aged 21.

The event’s Facebook page describes him as ‘a kind-hearted and fun-loving son to our good friends Gareth and Tracy, a brother to Olivia and best friends with all his close pals who truly miss him.’

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Since his death Keenan’s friends and family have been raising Epilepsy awareness as well as fundraising for SUDEP Action, the UK’s only charity dedicated to epilepsy bereavement support services.

Tom Fortune, a friend of Keenan’s since school said: ‘’Keenan was my best mate, so it was definitely something I wanted to get involved with because it was in his memory.

‘’A lot of his mates and family got involved this year. We all wanted to come together for Keenan.’’

This years event was dedicated to Keenan Arya. Pic: Gareth Arya

The Guild Wheel Walk, which this year saw more than 150 people from the Leyland community come together to walk 21 miles, raises money for different charities each time.

This year, the chosen charities were SUDEP Action and St Catherine’s Hospice.

Organiser of the event, Chris Pilkington said: ‘’It’s been so overwhelming the support we’ve received.

‘’For the eighth event it’s been brilliant, it just keeps growing and growing.’’

He added: ‘’We did it for Keenan and for our chosen charities, and it’s massively raising awareness.

‘’There must’ve been about 20 or 30 of Keenan’s friends and family, there was a big group.’’

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Mr Pilkington is also part of Leyland Trucks Helping Hand, a charity run by Leyland Trucks employees who support the event each year, along with the cash and JustGiving donations.

He said: ‘I’d like to thank all the community cooks and chefs as well who provided food for all the walkers when they got back.

‘’Also, the supporters who followed everyone on the day to make sure everyone was okay and got back safe.’’

Bob Wilson (left), bagpiper who led the start of this year’s walk and Chris Pilkington (right), organiser of the event. Pic: Laura Pilkington

Over the last eight years, the Preston Guild Wheel Walk has fundraised over £25,000 for several charities.

These include St Catherine’s Hospice, Derian House Children’s Hospice, Baby Beat, Lancashire Mind, NF1 Army, and Rainbow Hub.  

CEO of SUDEP Action, Sammy Ashby, said: ‘’SUDEP Action relies on the support of fantastic people, like everyone who took part in the Preston Guild Wheel Walk, so we can continue to do all we can to prevent epilepsy deaths and provide the UKs only dedicated epilepsy bereavement support services.’’

‘’What they have achieved is amazing and we’re so grateful for their support in Keenan’s memory.

‘’Thanks to their efforts, they will help us be there for people living with and bereaved by epilepsy – which could be lifesaving.’’

The Preston Guild Wheel Walk fundraiser can still be supported via their JustGiving page.

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