Five Years of Ashton Memorial Light Ups: Who’s Behind Them?

Parkinson's Awareness Day

The Ashton Memorial has been lit up over 110 times to support and raise awareness of different causes, local man Brent Lees is the man responsible for the feature of Lancaster’s skyline.

The first light up was in November 2015 when Brent, now of BCL Lighting, was contacted by the Williamson Park manager, who’d had a request to light the memorial as part of the ‘Purple Lights for Pancreatic Cancer Campaign’.

Credit: Ian Greene

Having lit up the memorial before, when working as a technician for the Play in the Park events, Brent set to work with floodlights and coloured filters around the balconies.

He said: “It was going to be a one off, but people really liked it, so it took off from there.

Credit: Ian Greene

The memorial stands at around 150 feet and can be seen for miles around including from the M6, but Brent is surprised by the scope of the lights appeal:

“I had a request from a guy in Australia to do a light up for Rare Disease Day, he has no connection to Lancaster at all but spotted it online – it’s bizarre how far it gets as well as the local area.

“It’s brilliant, people’s imaginations have been captured by it.”

The spectacle runs from October – April and is now mainly a result of colour changing LEDs that Brent can control remotely, saving him from having to change the coloured filters each time which used to take around two hours.

He still has to go up to set the timers and for maintenance, as he explained: “The weather from the bay is quite corrosive so the kit really gets a hammering, on top levels it’s pretty extreme.”

Credit: Ian Greene

Although Brent does the lights on his own, he said his “biggest help” is local photographer Ian Green, who’s been there for every single one of them:

“Sometimes I set the timers and head off, but he’s the one coming in the dark when it’s blasting, his pictures of all the local area are fantastic.”

The two have formed an “unlikely partnership”, with Ian sharing his photos online to local social media groups to help spread awareness.