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Fifty members attended the sixteenth Annual General Meeting of The Wainwright Society on Saturday 30 March 2019.

Prior to the AGM, John Bewick introduced Bruce Evans, a volunteer working for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS). In his presentation, he gave Society members an insight into the work of this vital emergency service. The service was launched in 1991, becoming a registered charity in 2002. The helicopter that operates in Cumbria was one of the first to carry doctors on board and during the first 15 years responded to over 16,000 callouts. GNAAS works with the Mountain Rescue teams in Cumbria to reach patients injured in inaccessible locations. The charity is completely dependent on charitable donations and a total of £5.3m was raised in 2018. The Society’s fundraising will pay for three next-generation ultrasound machines to help diagnose cardiac arrests and heart attacks, one for each helicopter in the fleet. Following the talk, a presentation of a cheque for £10,800 was made to Bruce Evans by Chairman, Eric Robson and committee members, Caroline Nichol and Nick Holmes.

Nick Holmes & Caroline Nichol (L) with Society Chairman, Eric Robson (R) present the cheque for £10800 to Bruce Evans (Great North Air Ambulance
                        Service)
Caption: Nick Holmes & Caroline Nichol (L) with Society Chairman, Eric Robson (R) present the cheque for £10800 to Bruce Evans (Great North Air Ambulance Service) Photograph: Derek Cockell


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. Once again, the Society was involved in the judging process of The Wainwright Prize selecting a shortlist of six books for the judging panel to consider. The winner in 2018 was Adam Nicolson with The Seabird’s Cry. In 2016, the Society raised money for The Calvert Trust for the renovation of the Bowderstone Bothy. Eric reported that the Bothy was opened in April last year at a ceremony attended by David Claxton (Treasurer) and Society members, Kevin & Jenny Whalley. The Fellwalking with a Camera Challenge was held in May when members visited a number of locations drawn by Wainwright from his photographs in his Pictorial Guides.  There was a presentation of money raised to The Great North Air Ambulance service by Derwentwater at the end of the Challenge. The Wainwright Memorial Lecture in October with guest speaker, David Powell-Thompson was a sell-out with David recounting his adventures as a walking guide, first as a researcher on walking films; later moving the other side of the camera as presenter. His lecture was very well-received by an appreciative audience. A total of 124 copies of Encounters with Wainwright were sold in 2018. Profit on these sales was £840, bringing the total raised for Animal Rescue Cumbria to £8200.

The 2018 Photographic Competition attracted 70 entries from 28 members. The Open Class WINNER was Pat Arrowsmith with his photograph, Ribblehead Station.  RUNNER UP was David Berry with Looking back down Lakeland HIGHLY COMMENDED was Pat Arrowsmith with Ben Nevis from Corpach. Pat and David were presented with their framed photographs by Chairman, Eric Robson.

Open Class Winner, Pat Arrowsmith (R) with Eric Robson (L) Photograph: Derek Cockel
Open Class Winner, Pat Arrowsmith (R) with Eric Robson (L) Photograph: Derek Cockell

Open Class Runner-up, David Berry (R) with Eric Robson (L) Photograph: Derek Cockell
Open Class Runner-up, David Berry (R) with Eric Robson (L) Photograph: Derek Cockell

Looking ahead to 2019, Eric Robson revealed that following agreement with the Wainwright Estate, the Society is about to become the publisher of a limited number of out-of-print Wainwright books. The first book will be A Pennine Journey, which the Society is hoping to publish in late spring. The 2019 Challenge celebrates 30 years since the publication of Wainwright on the Lakeland Mountain Passes. The Society is participating in the Kendal Walking Festival, organising a walk called, Wainwright’s Kendal. Finally, the speaker at the Wainwright Memorial Lecture in October is to be Nicky Spinks, the renowned fell runner and holder of the record for a double Bob Graham Round.

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. Following his report, Richard Daly, who is standing down as Membership Secretary after five years, was presented with a framed photograph of Striding Edge.

Retiring Membership Secretary, Richard Daly (L) with Eric Robson (R) Photograph: David Johnson
Retiring Membership Secretary, Richard Daly (L) with Eric Robson (R) Photograph: David Johnson

David Johnson recounted his adventures with retired England Cricket captain, Graham Gooch on a charity Coast to Coast walk last summer, when David acted as guide for the group across a section of the Lake District in challenging conditions. Secretary, Derek Cockell gave details of publicity and updated members about the various campaigns the Society had been involved in during the previous twelve months.

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

Derek Cockell
Secretary