'Peter's Garden' tribute to Guild Wheel creator

Guild Wheel architect Peter Ward has been honoured with a memorial ground in his name alongside the legacy he left for Preston.

By Brian Ellis
Saturday, 26th June 2021, 4:55 am

A wildflower garden, with new trees and benches, has been dedicated to the former international cyclist who inspired the 21-mile greenway which encircles the city.

Peter sadly died in 2017, five years after the Guild Wheel was opened to cyclists, walkers and runners to coincide with the 2012 Preston Guild.

“He would have been so proud if he could see it, although I’m sure he can,” said his widow Nora at a small ceremony to officially open the garden near to Fernyhalgh Lane in Fulwood. “I am in awe of this beautiful memorial. I never expected this.

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Great grandson Finley, two, at the unveiling of the memorial garden with Peter's widow Nora and Preston Mayor Coun Javed Iqbal.

“When Peter said to me all those years ago:‘Nora I have an idea,’ even he didn’t realise how much work and determination it would take to see it finished.

"He loved cycling along the Guild Wheel and all his family are very proud of this lasting legacy for the residents and visitors to Preston.”

The city’s Mayor Coun Javed Iqbal, was at the ceremony to unveil “Peter’s Garden.” He said: “I am truly honoured to officially unveil this fitting memorial to Peter Ward, a man with a passion for cycling that knew no bounds.

“Without the will and determination of Peter, along with the support of Mike Atkins, this legacy of Preston Guild 2012 that is the Guild Wheel would not exist.”

Mayor Coun Javed Iqbal and the Ward family in 'Peter's Garden.'

Peter, who was awarded the MBE for services to cycling in 2013, created the Guild Wheel with the support of fellow cyclist Mike Atkins who helped design it.

Mike, who died in 2013, has a section of the Wheel alongside Miller and Avenham Parks dedicated to him.

Peter Ward dreamed of creating an orbital cycling and walking route around Preston as long ago as 2000.

In 2005 the city council gave the green light to the project which was finally completed in time for the 2012 Preston Guild.

The memorial in honour of Guild Wheel creator Peter Ward.

At first it was a cause of great pride for Peter, but he was soon fighting to keep it traffic-free as the construction of thousands of new homes across the north of the city threatened to bring Guild Wheel users into direct conflict with vehicles.

Today more than 100,000 people - cyclists, walkers and joggers - use the circular route every year for recreation.

'Peter's Garden' plaque includes a photograph of the man whose dream was to build the Guild Wheel.