A DAY celebrating the life and work of much-loved poet Len Saunders, who died in July after he was attacked because he did not give a drunken yob a cigarette, will be held today (Thursday, December 7).

On what would have been his 66th birthday, the community of St Helens is gathering to celebrate Len Banana Day.

The all day event is named after the nickname he was given by friends at Lucem House Community Cinema – where he was a steward.

Ann Shacklady-Smith, Len friend and co-founder of Lucem House Community Cinema, said: “Everyone was and still is devastated by the loss of Len and at the time people wanted to do something for him but it wasn’t the right time to.

“But now we feel it’s appropriate to pay respects to him and more importantly celebrate his life and his work.

“He was a poet and we wanted him to be remembered for his art.

“We hope people will come along to remember Len, who was a great artist.”

The event will start with the opening of the Yellow Brick Road, which is step free access to the Corporation Street property. It was funded by donations that were amassed following his death.

This will be followed by the launch of a Writing Room, which will help aspiring writers and poets, such as Len.

Later, at noon, there will be the launch of his book of collected poems, titled Awake, Asleep, a Dream, at Wardleworths on Westfield Street.

From 5pm there will be an evening celebrating his life. Hosted by Lucem House it will start with tributes, a short story by Sue Gerrard and the screening of the Christmas movie, Scrooge, which was Len’s choice this year.

This will be following by a DJ set by Ian Knowles and other events.