Sir Chris: 'greatest lessons in the outdoors'

Sir Chris: 'greatest lessons in the outdoors'

Everest summiteer Sir Chris Bonington is stepping into the corridors of power to urge people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

The elder statesman of British mountaineering is speaking at a reception in the Palace of Westminster today hosted by the John Muir Trust and Lord Smith of Finsbury who, as Chris Smith, was a Labour Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport.

The gathering brings together politicians, conservationists, environmentalists, mountaineers, journalists and organisers of the John Muir Award, which has inspired hundreds of thousands of people of all ages to connect with the wild outdoors.

Sir Chris, who led four Everest expeditions and has written 18 mountaineering books, will link up with the campaigning conservation charity to encourage people to tear themselves away from their televisions and computer screens, and get a taste of Britain’s great outdoors.

He said: “Many of us have learned our greatest lessons in the outdoors and return there time and again to exercise our bodies and restore our souls.

“Our beautiful wild land not only teaches us about ourselves and our place in nature, but also sustains rare species and resources.

Today's reception is the second in a week at Westminster aimed at getting the public into the great outdoors

Today's reception is the second in a week at Westminster aimed at getting the public into the great outdoors

“So I am delighted to have this opportunity today to highlight the exemplary work of the trust in introducing people of all ages to the outdoors through the John Muir Award scheme, and in managing wild land sensitively and enhancing its protection.”

John Hutchison, chair of the John Muir Trust, welcomed the support of the mountaineering legend. “We are greatly honoured to have Sir Chris Bonington addressing this reception,” he said.

“This event is significant because parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, and many like-minded organisations, have joined with the John Muir Trust in recognising the vital importance and worth of wild places – and also their vulnerability.

“We look forward to working with them to promote and improve protection for wild places in the UK for the benefit of current and future generations.”

The reception will be followed by a week-long exhibition in the Palace of Westminster, which will showcase the work of the John Muir Trust.

The event follows last week’s launch, also in the Palace of Westminster, of the Outdoor Industries Association’s Britain on Foot campaign, which is also urging Briton’s to get active in the outdoors.

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