Sadly, we have heard that one of our major benefactors – Baron Kirby de Claremont (from America) – died earlier this year. Mr Lewis Kirby generously gifted a series of payments into an Endowment fund to Friends of the Lake District 25-30 years ago. The value of this fund is now over £400,000 and gives us an annual income from investment in the region of £15,000. 

This income forms a significant permanent source of funding for our work, in particular educating the public about landscape, and funding for projects/events/grants to support improvements for our beautiful Lake District landscape. It currently funds the annual Kirby Lecture and our Environment Improvement Grants, together with contributing towards staff salaries.  In the past it has supported a range of activities including hedging and walling competitions, projects, student research grants and sponsorship of best kept village.

We are indebted to Mr Kirby for his generosity and support. The regular income received from an Endowment means that we can continue to fund activities to enhance and protect the Lake District and Cumbria. If you are interested in setting up a permanent Endowment for Friends of the Lake District, please get in touch with our fundraiser Sophie Hodge.

1999 - ‘Polar Adventures’ Robert Swan OBE - Polar explorer

2000 - no lecture – foot and mouth outbreak

2001 - no lecture – foot and mouth outbreak

2002 - ‘Choices for the Lakeland Landscape’ Sir Martin Holdgate CB – latterly Director-General IUCN

2003 - ‘Fells, Flowers and Farming – the Lakeland jigsaw’ Derek Ratcliffe – naturalist

2004 - ‘Food, Farming and Landscape’ Patrick Holden – Director General, The Soil Association

2005 - ‘People, Peregrines and Pounds – the RSPB in the Lake District’ Andy Bunton – North of England Regional Director, RSPB  

2006 - ‘Wild Landscapes – a spirit of place’ Cameron McNeish – writer, broadcaster and Editor, The Great Outdoors

2007 - ‘Historical Perspectives on Lake District Commons’ Dr Eleanor Straughton – Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University

2008 - ‘Everywhere is somewhere – local distinctiveness’ Sue Clifford – co-founder Common Ground

2009 - ‘The Lake District – always at the centre of ideas about landscape’ Professor Adrian Phillips CBE  - former Chairman of IUCN 

2010 - ‘New horizons: a future for upland communities’ Dr Jim Cox – board member of the Commission for Rural Communities

2011 - ‘I Chose to Climb’ Sir Chris Bonington – speaker, writer, photographer and mountaineer

2012 - ‘From Afghanistan to Eden’ Rory Stewart MP, Penrith and the Border

2013 - ‘Wainwright’s Reflections Wandering the Lakeland Fells’ Eric Robson - writer and broadcaster

2014 - ‘The Lake District: Where Cultural Heritage and the Natural Environment Meet’ Chris Smith – former MP, Cabinet Minister