Wigan dad's tragic death is motivation for fund-raising mission

Gym member Ben Melling with gym director Daniel Ryder
Gym member Ben Melling with gym director Daniel Ryder

A fitness enthusiast will put his passion to use for the community by raising money for defibrillators.

Ben Melling, from Winstanley, is preparing a series of physical activities this summer to raise cash for the life-saving equipment.

Neil Rigby

Neil Rigby

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Should he be successful, the equipment will be installed at Heaven V Hell Fitness, in Standish, and its sister site in Pemberton.

The 31-year-old has been inspired to do something for the community after witnessing tragedy at the Wigan and Leigh Colour Run.

Grandad-of-six Neil Rigby died at the 2017 event, when he was just 48 years old.

Neil had been taking part in the 5k race at Pennington Flash when he was taken ill and tragically died at the scene.

Ben was taking part in the event with his four-year-old son at the time and was close by when Neil collapsed.

He said: “I had my little boy on my shoulders at the time when it happened. I had lost my dad only a few years back, so to see that with my four-year-old was a massive eye-opener.

“I’m trying to get as many people as possible to be aware of these situations. A family lost their dad on that day.”

Ben, who is a head chef, is gathering other gym goers to help raise as much money as possible for the two defibrillators, through a series of physical feats.

“There’ll be four events between the two gyms, to generate a bit of friendly competition. We’ve designed an Olympic Games-style day between the two, getting teams together and donating to enter.

“We’re also going to cycle the distance between Wigan and London.”

He added: “We need these defibrillators in gyms and the surrounding areas. They’re not going to be solely for the gyms, it’s for the whole area to have access to it.

“If someone had a heart attack in the gym or close by, there’s the chance of saving someone’s life.”