Wigan Olympian tells of family heartbreak as fund-raiser is launched in her brother's memory

Wigan Olympic high jumper Emily Borthwick says her family is heartbroken following the sudden death of her brother.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 7:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 9:32 am
Emily, Darren, Mandy and Connor Borthwick at the Wigan and District Harriers' 50th anniversary dinner eight years ago

Connor Borthwick, himself a talented sportsman, was fatally injured in an accident involving machinery at a Blackburn industrial estate on Thursday November 25.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation has been launched into the circumstances.

Meanwhile Connor's parents Darren and Mandy, along with 24-year-old sister Emily, have launched a funding appeal in his memory on Give as you Live.

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Donations will be shared between the Alzheimer's Society and Down's Syndrome Association and by the morning of Tuesday November 30, the total was already almost £5,500.

Emily wrote on Twitter: "Me and my family are absolutely heartbroken to share the news that my beautiful baby brother died last week.

"We have created a fund-raising page for two charities close to Con and us. Please donate if you can. Thank you."

On the page, the Borthwick family wrote: "Our son, brother, grandson and nephew, Connor, was a light that shone brightly, if only for 22 years.

"His boundless energy and generous spirit enriched the lives of whoever he met.

"He loved his friends and family.

"We have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have received since his death.

"It is a real testament to the way he touched so many peoples lives in a positive way and enriched ours beyond measure.

"We will miss him so much.

"We would like to honour his memory by raising money for two causes that were close to his heart.

"His grandad, Derek, died in 2017 from Alzheimer’s and his uncle, Jamie, who had Down’s syndrome died in 2015."

Former Deanery High School pupil Connor was himself a high jumper for Wigan and District Harriers (being crowned northern champion six years ago) and also played football, having been a member of St Jude's FC and Shevington FC.

Athletics coach Trevor Painter, who trains Emily and middle distance runner Keely Hodgkinson, paid tribute on social media.

He wrote: "So so proud of the Borthwick family and their strength in this darkest of hours.

"Loved when he dropped in on our sessions a few years ago as he always had a cheeky story and a glint in his eye.

"RIP Connor your light will never be forgotten."

And Shevington FC took to social media to write: "It is with a heavy heart that we announces the passing of one of our open age players.

"Connor Borthwick sadly died on Thursday.

"Our condolences go out to Mandy, Darren, Emily and all his family and friends. Rest in peace Connor."

Police say they are at the early stages of a joint investigation into the circumstances with colleagues from the Health and Safety Executive and those inquiries are ongoing.

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