Andrew Denton launches Britain on Foot at Westminster

Andrew Denton launches Britain on Foot at Westminster

The boss of the trade body for Britain’s outdoor sector called on the whole industry to get behind its drive to get the country on its feet.

Outdoor Industries Association chief executive Andrew Denton said support so far demonstrated the Britain on Foot campaign ‘has legs’.

Mr Denton was speaking at the official launch of Britain on Foot at the Palace of Westminster, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mountaineering.

He said everyone there, including 120 representatives from the industry, had got behind the campaign.

Junior health minister Anna Soubry, Labour shadow culture and sport minister Dan Jarvis both spoke at the event, which was also attended by top British mountaineers Alan Hinkes and Kenton Cool.

Britain on Foot, the brainchild of the Outdoor Industries Association is a long-term initiative to encourage the public all over the UK to take part in outdoor activities, leading to increased levels of exercise and better health.

The OIA hopes the campaign will reach beyond the core outdoor consumer audience and inspire the wider general public to sample outdoor activities, improving their own lifestyles and benefiting the whole industry, the wider economy and the health of the nation in the process.

Andrew Denton outlined the concept behind BoF and revealed the Britain on Foot guide book, containing some of the projects being run by organisations that will carry BoF branding in 2013, as well as key contact information and ‘what next’ advice.

The launch was co-hosted by MPs John Mann and David Rutley, co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group and supported by the British Mountaineering Council.

David Rutley MP, Dave Turnbull and Scott Titt of the BMC, and John Mann MP at the launch of Britain on Foot

David Rutley MP, Dave Turnbull and Scott Titt of the BMC, and John Mann MP at the launch of Britain on Foot

Speakers also included Dr William Bird of Intelligent Health and Conrad Bird, campaign manager of the GREAT from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Also at the Westminster launch were Visit England, the Ramblers, the National Trust, the Open Spaces Society, the European Outdoor Group, Sport England and the Tourism Alliance, and explorer David Hempleman Adams along with several MPs.

Mr Denton said: “We are absolutely delighted with the response to the trade launch of Britain on Foot.

“To have so many influential people together in the same room was fantastic, from the outdoor industries, all shades of the political spectrum and from different departments within the Government.

“Even better than that, without exception, everyone was keen to support Britain on Foot and make sure that it is a campaign that has legs and travels far, wide and for a long time.

“This project will only succeed if the trade gets behind it in a big way and I am hugely encouraged by the response of our sector so far.

“I think that this event demonstrated clearly to all that we are gathering significant momentum and I am confident that colleagues from across the outdoor industries will develop exciting and impactful initiatives for 2013 that will introduce Britain on Foot to a huge audience.”

Benedict Southworth, Ramblers chief executive, said: “Since our inception in 1935, we have been committed to getting the country outdoors.

“That is why the Britain on Foot campaign is so close to our hearts. We’re keen to help as many people as possible discover the sense of freedom, health and well-being that comes with walking and our ‘Get Walking Week’ and ‘Big Welsh Walk’ are just two of many great initiatives which will be supporting Britain on Foot in 2013.”

Dave Turnbull, chief executive of the British Mountaineering Council, added: “The BMC calls on the Government to get behind Britain on Foot in a big way.

“Britain on Foot has momentum and with suitable support could be a great thing for the nation.

“There’s no better way of enjoying our countryside than getting out in the hills so let’s all grasp this opportunity and make the most of Britain on Foot.”

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