AN ‘inspirational’ road runner who collapsed and died suddenly has given the gift of life to five people after donating his organs.

Andrew Boardman, 46, suffered a suspected stroke as he walked to a Blackburn Road Runners event on Saturday. His friends said they were ‘completely shocked’ to hear of his death but said he would have been proud he was able to donate seven of his organs.


Mr Boardman, of Preston Old Road, Blackburn worked as an architectural technician at Booth King Partnership in Ramsbottom and had been a member of the road runners for nearly five years.

He was also a race leader at Couch to 5k in Blackburn’s Witton Park.

Sue Wolstenholme, chairman of the road runners said: “Everybody is deeply shocked.

“He was the fittest he has ever been.

“He challenged himself and liked to be challenged but was the kindest, most caring man as acknowledged by all who came across him.

“He paced six of his club mates to completing their first marathon in Liverpool only a few months ago after training with them weekly.

“He gave them belief and helped them achieve a goal they never thought would be possible. He knew they could do it.

“He was an integral part of the club and was particularly good at helping people who were new starters to build confidence and offered quiet praise and encouragement to all.

“Just being there was often enough to help people.

“He was a close friend to many of us there including myself. Nothing was ever too much trouble and he didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody.”

Mrs Wolstenholme said Mr Boardman collapsed in Tower Road, Blackburn, at around 8.45am on Saturday.

A group of his closest running friends even visited Mr Boardman in hospital.

He was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital, before being transferred to the Walton Centre in Liverpool. He died in the early hours of Sunday from what his friends have described as a ‘massive stroke’.

Both the road running club and Couch to 5k paid tribute to Mr Boardman.

On Sunday, more than 20 of his road runner club mates ran the Lancaster Bernard and Evelyn Elkington 80th Birthday five mile race, which he was due to take part in.

They all crossed the finishing line together with his race number and carrying flowers.

In his honour Mr Boardman was given an official race time for the event.

On Monday, hundreds of runners completed a three-mile run as part of Couch to 5k in his memory. Mr Boardman’s family were in attendance at the event.

Rick Wilson, founder of Couch to 5k, said: “We’re obviously devastated because it was so sudden.

“I don’t think he had ever been as fit as he was now. His death is a massive loss to everybody in the club.

“Everything that Andrew would ever do was genuinely for everybody else and he never sought any recognition for it.

“Andrew was the most honest, sensitive and caring guy you will ever meet.

“My regret is I didn’t do more with him.”

Mr Boardman attended Longshaw Juniors School and the former Everton High School, both in Blackburn. He was born in Lancaster.

He had completed six marathons, including two London Marathons. He also travelled to Florida in 2014 to take part in the Disney Challenge multi race event. He was in training for the Ironman in Bolton.

He was also a weekly player in the Dugdale Memorial Bowling Club, in Sandon Street, Blackburn, and also represented the club at snooker.

He liked cycling, travel and attending concerts and musicals. He was also a Blackburn Rovers season ticket holder.

Mr Boardman leaves his mum and dad Jackie and Bob Boardman, brother Anthony, sister-in-law Dawn and niece Amy.

A funeral date has yet to be confirmed but the family have requested donations in Mr Boardman’s name to the Stroke Association and Milly’s Smiles, a charity he had raise funds for in the past.