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Tributes to market stalwart

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Tributes were paid today to a former Fleetwood market trader who became a familiar face in the town over more than two decades.

Harold Raine Ashworth, known by most as Ray, died aged 74 after suffering an aneurism just two weeks shy of his 75th birthday.

He held a stall in the town’s market for many years and became a well-known face to marketgoers.

Mr Ashworth left behind a brother, John, nephews Tim and Rob, niece Jane and cousins Pat Greenhalgh, David, Roger and Simon Farrer.

Brother John, who lives in Canada, said Mr Ashworth was a character who would be well-known by shoppers.

He said: “He had a second-hand bookstall on the old Blackburn Market for more than 20 years. He also had stalls at Fleetwood and Pendlebury.

“My three children loved going to Uncle Ray’s stall to work the till and help customers. Ray was a real character and was quite eccentric.

“He enjoyed drinking in the pubs and also had a passion for Egyptology.

“After he retired he learned Spanish and enjoyed numerous trips to Malaga and Mallorca.”

Mr Ashworth added his brother had spent some time as a rock band roadie in the 1960s.

He said: “He got to know The Hollies quite well back then and he got very good at the Jitterbug!”

Mr Ashworth, of Montague Street, Blackburn, was born in Brighton but after war broke out the family moved to Bacup, where mum and dad Harold and Bessie worked as teachers.

After school he went on to work as a sewing machine repairman, an aircraft parts machinist and an oil seal engineer. He also had a brief spell in the Merchant Navy.

 

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