Outdoor instructor takes on challenge to raise money for research into disease that claimed life of well known known Clarets fan 'Zac'

An outdoor instructor is taking herself out of her 'comfort zone' to raise money for research into a disease that claimed the life of her dad's best friend.

By Susan Plunkett
Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 7:00 am

Bethan Rigby is in training for the Great North Run which is due to take place in October. Even if the event is cancelled due to Covid 19 Bethan has vowed she will complete the 13-and-half-miles to raise money for research into pancreatic cancer.

And although she is fit thanks to her job, Bethan admits running is not her thing so she is pulling out all the stops in her training regime, running a few miles each day.

She set herself a target to raise £350 and has already surpassed that as the total now stands at £416.

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Bethan (front) pictured with Paul and his wife Mel during a holiday to Portugal in 2017. Also on the picture is Bethan's sister Hannah (left) Kayleigh Hindle

Bethan, who works at Robinwood Activity Centre in Todmorden, is taking on the challenge in memory of Brierfield man Paul Simm who died of pancreatic cancer in August last year at the age of 56.

A well known dad and grandfather, Clarets fan Paul was the also the best friend of Bethan's dad, Pete Rigby, for 25 years.

The pair met when they played football together and became firm friends, enjoying holidays together with their wives, Mel whowas married to Paul and Pete's wife Jane, and their families.

Bethan (30) said: "Paul was an absolute legend and my dad's best friend.

Best friends Pete Rigby (left) and Paul Simm.

"We had so many happy holidays and fantastic times together."

Affectionately known as Zac, after he played a character by that name in a school play while a student at the former St Joseph's Primary School in Nelson, Paul was a former pupil at Fisher More High School in Colne.

A season ticket holder for the Clarets, Paul loved football and played for Brierfield Celtic and Colne Legion amongst others.

The highlight of his career was playing on Turf Moor in the hospital cup final for Colne Legion versus Vale Weavers in which Legion won 1-0. Paul had worked at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick from the age of 16.

In a bid to raise awareness of the disease and also research into pancreatic cancer, Paul's son Matt organised a charity football match in March last year and hundreds of friends, family and well wishers turned out to show their support for Paul.

Matt, who lives in Harle Syke, Burnley, set himself a target of raising £500 and managed to bring in the staggering amount of £12,000 after rival clubs Burnley and Blackburn Rovers, and also Accrington Stanley, banded together to donate signed shirts and several other items for a fund raising auction.

Now living in Todmorden Bethan grew up in Nelson and attended the former Edge End High School.