RUNNERS from around the region have been mourning the loss of Les Shaw who died on May 6 after a long battle with cancer.

Shaw, who would have celebrated his 55th birthday next week, had been a long time member of Clayton le Moors Harriers before moving to Blackburn Harriers around 15 years ago.

He competed on the road, but it will be on the fells where he will be best remembered.

Locally he was a winner in the Three Hills Race - now known as Aggies Staircase - in his home town of Darwen.

Further afield he won the C Class in the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon with his close friend Keith Robinson when it was held at Dumfries and Galloway in 1986.

He also competed at Snowdon, Ben Nevis and in the Three Peaks Race.

There was a good nucleus of fell runners at Blackburn then and he made lasting friendships particularly with Dave Farnworth and Barry Crewdson.

When he switched to Blackburn George Thompson made the opposite move to Clayton and the pair famously exchanged club kit.

Shaw was a fireman, in charge of Red Watch in Accrington prior to taking early retirement. He had also served the brigade in Blackburn, Darwen and Preston.

After he retired, although unable to run, he remained active playing golf, fishing and playing bowls.

At his funeral last week, the Fire Brigade formed a guard of honour and the crematorium was full as running friends swelled the congregation. He leaves wife Yvonne, grown up children Christopher and Julie and two grandchildren.