Five long years of waiting will finally come to an end this week when a bereaved mum can finally erect a memorial bench to her son on the anniversary of his tragic death.
Carol, 58, originally purchased the engraved wrought-iron bench with the help of donations from the local community in 2011, and hoped to place it along Rishton’s canalside ‘White Path’, an area off of Spring Street, close to where Michael’s body was found.
However, the memorial was delayed for four years due to drainage work.
The bench will finally be put in place this week, exactly five years after Michael’s death.
A keen amateur fisherman, Michael spent a lot of his time trout and carp fishing.
Carol said: “I never understood it, because he was always running around and riding his bike. I’d ask him ‘How do you manage to sit still by the side of the river all day?’
“But he loved fishing, and would always sit and chat with people while he did it.
“When we came down to his funeral, the streets were filled with people. I had no idea just how many people knew him.”
Carol said she has only been able to visit the White Path in the last 18 months in order to go down there and have ‘a chat’ with Michael.
She added: “Now is the right time to put in the bench. It’s the last thing I can do for my son.”
Michael, 30, worked as a joiner, and was a popular figure in Rishton. He was known locally as Mick Pot, a nickname he was given when he first moved to the area from Blackburn, as he had a broken arm.
Michael was also hailed as a hero in 2006, when he tackled a mugger after seeing him try to rob a female debt collector.
Carol said: “Michael was a very kind person. If he was riding his bike and saw a little old lady struggling with her bags going the opposite way, he’d turn around, put all the bags on the back and take them home for her. That’s just the kind of person he was.”
Carol says she hopes the bench will now be a place for Michael’s friends and loved ones to reflect on memories of his life.
She said: “Now everybody who knew him living in Rishton or Great Harwood will have a place to sit, talk to him, have a beer with him and remember his life.”