Staff cut the birthday cake at the Latrigg gathering. Photo: Dave Emery

Staff cut the birthday cake at the Latrigg gathering. Photo: Dave Emery

A charity that was set up to establish a national park in the Lake District has celebrated its 85th anniversary.

Members of the Friends of the Lake District, along with supporters and members of the public, made the climb to Latrigg to watch the sun set on summer solstice day.

The gathering celebrated with champagne and a specially made cake on the summit of the fell near Keswick.

The Friends were founded as a group at a rally in Fitz Park in the Cumbrian town, with the sole aim of campaigning for the setting up the national park, which was achieved in 1951 when the Lake District became one of England’s first designated parks.

The invitation to Friday’s event came with the usual ominous disclaimer that the celebration would go ahead in wet and poor weather unless it was unsafe to do so, due to high winds, poor visibility or lightning, but the crowd at the summit, for once, needn’t have worried.

A Friends’ spokesperson said: “Assembled supporters were treated to a glorious sunset, a spectacular birthday cake – a creation by talented cake maker Joanne Dixon – and champagne to toast Friends of the Lake District in recognition of its enduring presence as an independent charity with the enhancement and protection of Cumbria’s landscape at its heart.”

The charity’s chief executive Douglas Chalmers said: “This evening we take time to watch the sun setting over Keswick, to take a breath and reflect on all that has been achieved in our 85 years. Tomorrow, there will be more to do and many challenges to face.

“We have never faltered in our commitment and the enthusiasm needed to take action to enhance and conserve the natural beauty of Cumbria’s glorious landscapes for the benefit of visitors, local communities, wildlife and habitats.

“Moments like these, surrounded not only by the landscape that gives us our purpose, but also by many of the people who enable us to do so, simply strengthens our resolve.

“This resolve will serve us well at a time when the need for an independent organisation like Friends of the Lake District is greater than at any moment in our history.”

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