Cumbria Crack

The 2016 Wainwright Memorial Lecture with Richard Else

Richard Else © Richard Else
Richard Else © Richard Else

[T]he 2016 Memorial Lecture is to be held at 6 pm on Saturday 15 October at the Rheged Centre, Redhills, Penrith, and will be delivered by Richard Else.

This is a rare opportunity to hear from somebody who worked closely with Alfred Wainwright and came to know him very well during the last years of his life. Richard Else was a young film director in the 1980s when he made a series of television programmes with Alfred Wainwright and Eric Robson. The films, screened on BBC2, brought Wainwright to a national audience for the first time.

On the 25th anniversary of Wainwright’s death, Richard Else makes a new assessment of the friend he knew and worked with for almost 10 years. Many people have claimed that AW was a reluctant television star, but Richard tells a different and more complex story.

For the last decade of his life, no one except members of his immediate family, knew Wainwright better than Richard. In a relationship that went far beyond the requirements of documentary making, he became AW’s eyes and ears, invited to accompany him and wife Betty on holiday to Scotland; taking him to many places for a final visit; persuading him to undertake what turned out to be a hilarious publicity visit to London and sampling a vast selection of the nation’s fish ‘n’ chip shops, Little Chef’s and other ‘greasy spoon’ eateries. Richard became Wainwright’s confidant, sharing his views on a wide range of subjects from conservation to animal welfare.

Throughout his time with Wainwright, Richard kept detailed notes and took many photographs – including their initial walks in the Lake District; the revisiting of AW’s beloved Scottish Highlands and Islands; the Coast to Coast walk; the wild landscapes of the Howgill Fells, Teesdale and North Yorkshire and the final emotional journey to Wainwrights’s Lancashire roots around industrial Blackburn.

Now, for the first time, Richard gives an insider’s view into those years together. Along with a selection of previously unpublished photographs and documents, together with new images of important places they visited together, this lecture will reveal little-known aspects of the great man, as the pair shared their love of wild places and forged a unique relationship.

Richard Else has written a book about his memories, which is due to be published later this year.

Tickets for this event are available only from the Box Office at Rheged (Tel: 01768 868000) and are priced at £8 for Society members and £12 for non-members. The restaurant will be open before and after the Lecture.

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