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Thirty-four members attended the fourteenth Annual General Meeting of The Wainwright Society on Saturday 17 March 2018.

Prior to the AGM, John Bewick introduced Richard Fox, Fix the Fells Ranger, from the Society’s main beneficiary for 2017, Fix the Fells. Richard gave a presentation showing the history of and work undertaken by Fix the Fells. In the early years of the 21st century under the “Upland Paths Landscape Restoration Project”, 102 paths were repaired using money from partner organisations that was generously match-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. From this Fix the Fells was born and has continued its work with support from partners, donations, support from local businesses and communities and the Lottery Fund.

Richard showed the audience various methods of repair which depended upon the type and severity of the damage and included the use of sheep fleeces in some cases as a base layer. The money raised by the Society will be used for urgent repairs to Long Stile where the path is badly eroded. Richard concluded his fascinating talk by answering many questions raised by the audience and requesting people to spread the word to help reduce path erosion by not straying onto the outside of footpaths and causing the widening of the path.

Following the talk, a presentation of a cheque for £10,600 was made to Richard by committee members, Caroline Nicol and Nick Holmes.

Richard Fox, Caroline Nichol & Nick Holmes presenting a cheque for £10,600 to Fix the Fells Caption: (L_R) Kevin Whalley, Caroline Nichol & Eric Robson presenting a cheque for £7,500 to Animal Rescue Cumbria
Photo: Jill Bewick

The AGM commenced at 3 pm with Eric Robson in the Chair. He welcomed all members to the meeting.

In his Chairman’s report, Eric Robson reviewed the main events of the past year. Encounters with Wainwright, edited by David Johnson was runner-up in the 2017 Lakeland Book of the Year – a very impressive achievement. A cheque for £7500 was presented to Kevin Whalley, Chairman of the trustees of Animal Rescue Cumbria raised from sales of the Encounters book.

Kevin Whalley, Caroline Nichol & Eric Robson presenting a cheque for £7,500 to Animal Rescue Cumbria Caption: (L_R) Kevin Whalley, Caroline Nichol & Eric Robson presenting a cheque for £7,500 to Animal Rescue Cumbria
Photo: Jill Bewick

Once again, the Society was involved in the judging process for The Wainwright Prize, selecting a shortlist of six books for the judging panel to consider. The winner in 2017 was John Lewis-Stempel with Where Poppies Blow. The annual charity Challenge was held in May when members visited a number of locations in the Far Eastern Fells described or drawn by Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide. There was a presentation of money raised to Fix the Fells on Wansfell at the end of the Challenge. The Society supported the 2017 Blencathra Exhibition at Keswick Museum by producing a leaflet for visitors to take away about AW’s association and love of Blencathra. Following the opening of the Ullswater Way in 2016, the Society made donations to two Wainwright installations commemorating AW’s love of Ullswater and Patterdale. The installations were unveiled during 2017. The Wainwright Memorial Lecture in October with guest speaker, Clive Hutchby was a great success with Clive describing the process of revising the Pictorial Guides.

Looking ahead to 2018, members were advised that the Challenge in May would be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the publication of Fellwalking with a Camera. A programme of Society walks included a Wainwright Walk around Kendal in conjunction with Kendal Town Council as part of the Kendal Walking Festival. Finally, the speaker at the Wainwright Memorial Lecture in October is to be David Powell-Thompson, Honorary Society member, television broadcaster and Lakeland Mountain Guide. Following the Chairman’s report, there was the annual election of Officers of the Society. Eric Robson was re-elected Chairman of the Society, Derek Cockell was confirmed as Secretary and David Claxton as Society Treasurer. Other members of the Committee were re-elected in their various capacities.

There were reports about Society Membership, Society Development, Finance, and Walk Events. John Bewick (standing in for the Secretary) reported back to members about the unveiling of two Wainwright installations on the Ullswater Way. It was reported that items purchased at the auction of Hunter Davies’ Wainwright collection were donated to the Wainwright Archive in Kendal. Finally, there were updates of campaigns undertaken by the Society during the past twelve months including objections to the planning applications for zip wires at Thirlmere and Honister Slate Mine.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Chairman thanked members for attending.

Derek Cockell