Film director Richard Else will deliver the Wainwright lecture. Photo: Richard Else

Film director Richard Else will deliver the Wainwright lecture. Photo: Richard Else

A film-maker who helped bring acclaimed outdoor writer Alfred Wainwright to the television screen will speak at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the author’s death.

Richard Else will reveal a little known side of the taciturn fellwalker in a memorial lecture hosted by the Wainwright Society.

This will include tales of a tour of the nation’s fish and chip shops, and a comic publicity visit to London.

Mr Else will deliver the annual Wainwright memorial lecture at in Cumbria later this year.

Wainwright Society secretary Derek Cockell said: “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.”

He said Richard Else offers 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,” Mr Cockell said.

“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 his 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 and chip shops, Little Chefs and ‘greasy-spoon’ eateries.

“Richard became Wainwright’s confidant, sharing his views on a wide range of subjects from conservation to animal welfare.”

Alfred Wainwright at work. Photo: Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal

Alfred Wainwright at work. Photo: Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal

The film-maker kept detailed notes and photographs during his time with the Kendal-based author, including walks in the Lake District, the revisiting of Wainwright’s favourite Scottish Highlands and Islands, the Coast to Coast walk, the wild landscapes of the Howgill Fells, Teesdale and North Yorkshire and his final emotional journey to Wainwright’s Lancashire roots around industrial Blackburn.

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

The Wainwright Society said, along with a selection of previously unpublished photographs and documents, and new images of important places they visited together, the lecture will reveal little known aspects of the writer, as the pair forged a unique relationship.

The Wainwright Memorial Lecture will take place on 15 October this year, at Rheged near Penrith.

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