Shock death of Royal British Legion chairman Bill

Bill Ashcroft
Bill Ashcroft

The respected chairman of the Burnley branch of the Royal British Legion has died peacefully at home.

Korean War veteran Mr Bill Ashcroft (84) was well-known throughout Burnley for his tireless work for the Legion’s Poppy Appeal, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds during his tenure.

Dad was a devoted servant to the Royal British Legion and everyone is very proud of his work there

Step daughter

Burnley-born and bred, Mr Ashcroft saw action in the Korean War and also spent part of his National Service in Japan.

When he returned home he became a painter and decorator, eventually working for Burnley Corporation.

His step-daughter Lisa Gordon said: “Dad was a devoted servant to the Royal British Legion and everyone is very proud of his work there.

“He was a very fit man who was still heavily involved with the Legion’s work. He had not been ill and died peacefully in his armchair at home.

“My mum Gillian died in September, 2014, and dad hadn’t really been the same since then. They were devoted to each other.”

Mr Ashcroft was an everpresent at Remembrance Day services in Burnley and would lay out all the memorial crosses personally at the Peace Gardens for services.

Away from his Legion work, he was a founder member and player for Burnley United football team and was still playing darts at the Fulledge Conservative Club.

He was also a member of the Ramblers’ Association, and an avid follower of Burnley Football Club and Burnley Cricket Club.

Mr Ashcroft also leaves daughter Janet Ashcroft, from his first marriage to Connie, and stepson Paul Hargreaves, as well as eight grandchildren.

Legion member Mike Elliott, who will now take over as chairman of the Burnley branch, paid tribute to the “wonderful man”.

He said: “Bill was associated with the Legion for more than 20 years.

“He did a lot of welfare work and was always visiting veterans at their homes, offering to get them help with disabled alterations and such like.”

His funeral will be held at 10-30am on March 30th, at St Catherine’s Church, Todmorden Road, before a service at 11-20am at Burnley Crematorium. Legion members will attend with standards and the coffin will be draped in the Union flag.