Landscape conservation charity Friends of the Lake District’s out-going president Sir Martin Holdgate handed over to new president John Entwistle, OBE, at the charity’s Grasmere AGM recently.

John Entwistle is a retired solicitor and tribunal judge, and former president of the British Chambers of Commerce, and former member of the north west National Trust Regional committee. He has lived in Kendal for 28 years.

He said:  "I am really delighted to have the privilege of being elected as the new president and be able to continue to support the Friends in this role after my period as chairman.  Sir Martin Holdgate will be a difficult act to follow but am pleased he will also continue to be involved as our emeritus president.

“The Friends now have several important issues and projects to deal with to ensure our precious landscape here is protected so it can be enjoyed by what will inevitably be an increasing number of visitors.

“We’ve just completed the planning stage for an ambitious project aiming to reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. We need to await the outcome of a grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the scheme, but if successful, we’ll be working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park and partners to deliver a range of projects over three years to enable more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape.

“The Friends needs more financial support to do its job effectively and I shall try in my new role to help achieve this."

Sir Martin Holdgate said: “The past four years have been enjoyable and I hope that as ‘President Emeritus’ I can still contribute as Friends of the Lake District meets new challenges.

“The Government’s forthcoming reappraisal of the national parks and of the national farm support system, will be topics of major debate that we, as one of the country’s premier landscape protection bodies and champions of one of Britain’s first and finest national parks, must make a major input into.”

Over a hundred people attended the AGM and chose from field trips to Thirlmere, and Gillside Wood, the new woodland planted by Friends volunteers in 2014. Other talks included a poetry walk with Harriet Fraser and a talk about development issues in the national park and how demands made on a small village like Grasmere can be tackled.

Conservation charity Friends of the Lake District was formed in 1934 to protect the landscape and led the successful campaign to create the Lake District National Park. In 2016 the Friends successfully campaigned to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks to include areas of the Howgill and Orton fells, areas around Kirby Lonsdale and Sizergh, extending the parks by 188 square miles.

Thanks to Friends campaigning, National Grid announced they would not put their planned 12km of  47m high pylons across the Dudden valley and through the Lake District National Park in December 2016.

Earlier this year the Friends successfully campaigned against a plan to build an 8 zip wire visitor attraction across Thirlmere reservoir.

The charity also runs year round volunteer conservation work parties, including its large scale volunteer Fell Care Day events, planting trees, repairing dry stone walls, maintaining paths and clearing scrub along with other conservation work. The organisation also gives environmental grants, trains outdoor leaders in the management and conservation of our upland landscapes, and recently organised a ‘Great Cumbrian Litter Pick’, in which more than 1,300 people from all over Cumbria took part.