Guild Wheel honour a lasting tribute for Preston's Ben Ashworth

The wheels are in motion for one of Preston's landmarks to be named after inspirational charity campaigner Ben Ashworth.

Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 7:24 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:06 pm
Ben Ashworth

A petition of more than 3,000 signatures calling for a section of the Guild Wheel to be renamed in his honour has been presented to council bosses.

And leader Coun Peter Rankin revealed steps have already been taken to organise the fitting tribute.

Ben’s widow Louise and mum Rachel Porter said the serial marathon runner - who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and died earlier this month - would have been humbled by the honour.

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Council leader Peter Rankin receives the petition from Ben Ashworth's family

Plans are now in place to rename a 2.5km stretch of the route for Ben with 200m markers along the way to encourage people to exercise there.

Louise said the proposal - on a part of the Guild Wheel route that Ben would regularly use - would be a fitting legacy for her late husband.

She said: “He would have been humbled by it and with all the attention, but he would have wanted to re-direct that back to the people who thought it up and organised it. I think he just would have been really excited.

“We want to make sure that it is used to continue the message that he was trying to give to people.”

Council leader Peter Rankin receives the petition from Ben Ashworth's family

Ben, a 38-year-old from Preston, wrote about his experiences for Ben’s Bowel Movements, raising awareness of the disease and raising funds for charities, such as Beating Bowel Cancer, by running 24 marathons.

Coun Rankin said: “We often get petitions and sometimes they’re things we agree with and sometimes they split the council. We’ve got one today I can guarantee everyone will support. I think it’s very appropriate...he was a huge inspiration.”

The petition was handed over to council bosses at the town hall on Wednesday by family friend and organiser Graham Dixon along with Ben Ashworth’s wife, mum and daughters.

Mr Dixon said: “I thought this was the least I could do. Having spoken to the council I’ve realised this is a small piece in a large cog because they already had something in mind (in terms of a tribute to Ben)”

Louise Ashworth added: “For me it feels more about encouraging more people to exercise. The Guild Wheel is so fantastic as a cycle path and it was on our doorstep and that’s what Ben used it for.”