Family set to run in memory of Wigan grandad

Neil Rigby (second from left) with his family at the colour run
Neil Rigby (second from left) with his family at the colour run

The widow of a Wigan man who died suddenly during a charity run last year is urging people to join them for the annual race in memory of her husband.

Neil Rigby, 47, collapsed last year while taking part in the Wigan and Leigh 5k colour run at Pennington Flash.

He died at the scene despite all medical efforts.

June Rigby, Neil’s widow had worked with the two charities of the event, Wigan and Leigh Hospice and the Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, to arrange the event which will be in memory of the grandad-of-six.

At the request his family the event will once again be held at Pennington Flash in Leigh.

Around 30 family members will be taking part to remember him and they will be at the front of the 5k Colour Run as it sets off.

June said: “I’m devastated and still finding it very difficult. Neil’s death was so unexpected and him not being here has left a huge hole in our lives.

“It’s very important to me and my family that the colour run is taking place again this year.

“When it happened Neil was raising money for the hospice and the Warriors foundation and he was so excited at the start of the colour run – he was dancing around doing his ‘dad dancing’ as we called it.

“This is why me and my daughters want to do the colour run again – to raise money for the charities he was supporting and to remember him.

“We would love as many people possible to join us on what will be a very sad emotional day as it is the eve to Neil’s one-year passing which was September 17.

“Neil would be proud of us all taking part. This will be our third year this time so come along and support the charities and join us in remembering him.”

Neil was taking part in the charity race with his family when he collapsed before reaching the finish line. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him but despite their best efforts he died at the scene. A week later, his family finished the race from the same point.

Maxine Armstrong, fundraising and lottery manager at Wigan and Leigh Hospice, said: “We have kept in regular contact with Neil’s family over the arrangements for this year’s run and we are delighted that they will be joining us on the day.

“This will be a day when we remember Neil and why he was taking part in the colour run – to raise money to help local people. It will also be a day for celebration and plenty of fun.”

Last year more than 1,000 people took part and raised thousands of pounds for both charities in the process.

Participants are given a bag of powder paint which is thrown into the air at the start of the run. They are then covered as they run past colour stations.

Participants should wear white so that the colours really stand out. The run begins at noon on September 16. To sign up visit