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Pendlebury Award Winner Announced

A plaque featuring the flora and fauna of the North Pennines, together with the man who inspired it, has been announced as the winning design of the inaugural Pendlebury Award.

The award has been devised to act as both a memorial to the late Bob Pendlebury OBE for his unswerving dedication to the conservation of the North Pennines during his lifetime, while also recognising an individual or organisations’ contribution to looking after the area today.

Bob Pendlebury (1995)

Bob Pendlebury (1995)

Bob, who died in 2012, was inspirational in his passion for the upkeep of the area’s heritage and in recognition of that, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership decided to pay tribute to its first ever chair with this award.

Chris Woodley-Stewart, Director of the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “What Bob did for the area, and for the Partnership itself, was exceptional. Throughout his lifetime he gave up countless hours to play a vital role in caring for the place that he loved.

“Creating this award to recognise those who follow in his footsteps will hopefully be a fitting tribute to a much-loved and much-missed man.”

Artists and designers from across Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria were asked to submit their designs for The Pendlebury Award and a team of judges, including Bob’s daughter Joy Thompson, decided Kirsty Armstrong’s design best represented the former Durham County Councillor’s passion for the North Pennines.

The winning entry, which is a plaque of a sculpted North Pennine landscape, was chosen for its unique interpretation of the area’s iconic landscape and its inhabitants, which are all being subtly watched over by Bob. It also uses locally sourced materials, including stone from Talkin Fell.

As well as being an artist, Kirsty is also involved in red squirrel conservation and designed the Red Squirrel Survival Trust award last year. Prince Charles is a fan of her work and after being presented with one of her designs he wrote to her to tell her it was a gift he would treasure.

Joy said: “It was a tough decision to make as all of the entries were really impressive, and all very different. After a lot of discussion we eventually went with Kirsty’s design because it has everything in it that was important to Dad and it’s also got him in there. It’s really subtle, which he’d have liked, but it’s a lovely touch.

“As well as the award being so beautiful and something that will stand the test of time, I also like the fact that Kirsty has a personal interest in conservation, something which Dad would have approved of.”

As well as being the Partnership’s first-ever Chair – a role which he carried out until May 2008 - Bob was also actively involved in a host of other organisations in the area including the Crook and Weardale Ramblers’ Association Group, Durham Wildlife Trust, Northumbria Tourism, Friends of Killhope, the Royal British Legion, Crook and District Music Society, Crook Labour Party and the YHA.

He explored the length and breadth of the area, and the wider North East and Cumbria, both on foot and on his push bike, accumulating a huge catalogue of photographs which he would regularly share with community groups.

Kirsty, who works as a sculptor from her home in Brampton, on the edge of the North Pennines, said: “I sit and look out of my window on to Cold Fell every day, so that was my real inspiration. Bob sounds like he was a wonderful man, and as someone who works in conservation I really appreciate what he did during his lifetime and the fact that this award will go to someone else with the same passion is fantastic.”

Kirsty with an early mock-up of The Pendlebury Award

Kirsty with an early mock-up of The Pendlebury Award

The hunt for the first ever winner of The Pendlebury Award will begin later this month when people will be asked to nominate themselves, or someone they feel is worthy of being its first recipient.

The award, which will be presented by one of Bob’s family in June, will stay with the first winner for a year before being passed on by them the following year to a worthy successor.

The launch of the award will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the North Pennines being officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and 10 years since being named as a European Geopark.

North Pennines

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