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Sir Christian Bonington

Sir Chris Bonington, CVO, CBE, DL

Chris is one of the most successful expedition leaders in the history of mountaineering with his leadership of the successful first ascents of the South Face of Annapurna, the South West of Everest and seventeen other expeditions to the Himalaya. He has made many first ascents including the Old Man of Hoy, the Central Pillar of Freney on Mont Blanc (at the time ranked as the greatest climbing challenge in the Alps) and, in 1962, the first British ascent of the notorious North Wall of the Eiger. In the Himalayas he made the first ascents of Annapurna II (7943 meters), Nuptse (7850m) and The Ogre (7284m).

He is Chancellor of Lancaster University, President of the Outdoors Writers’ Guild, Patron of the British Mountaineering Council, The Mountain Heritage Trust and the Boardman-Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, and Deputy Patron of the Outward Bound Trust.

He is also Non Executive Chairman of Berghaus.

He has written fifteen best-selling books, has taken part in many television films and lectures on team work and leadership.

Lord Cavendish

The Lord Cavendish of Furness, DL

Hugh Cavendish, Lord Cavendish of Furness, was brought up at Holker Hall, a Cumbrian stately home, which he inherited in his early 30s. The surrounding 18,000 acres include ancient parkland, gardens and woodland; it is a working estate with stone quarries, farming, leisure enterprises and a racecourse.

After serving as High Sheriff of Cumbria in 1978, Lord Cavendish was elected a member of Cumbria County Council in 1985. He served in local government until he was created a peer in 1990 and served as Lord-in-Waiting and Spokesman for Energy among other Government Departments.

After resigning from government, he was appointed a Commissioner of English Heritage with special responsibility for historic gardens and landscapes. He was also appointed to be HMG’s representative on the Board of the Nuclear Waste Agency.

He has been involved with numerous organisations, schools and charities in Cumbria and co-founded a hospice for the terminally ill. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County.

Lord Cavendish enjoys travel, gardening, National Hunt Racing, shooting and fishing.


Baroness Ruth Henig, CBE

Ruth Henig taught at Lancaster University for over thirty years, and is the author of a number of books and pamphlets on 20th century international history.  She was a member of the University Council in her capacity as Dean of Arts and Humanities in the late 1990s.  She also served as a councillor on Lancashire County Council from 1981-2005 and chaired the Libraries, Museums and Arts Committee and subsequently the Police Authority.  In 1997 she became the first chair of the national Association of Police Authorities (serving in that role until 2005) and was awarded the CBE for services to policing in 2000.  She also represented the North West region as a member of the European Union Committee iof the Regions from 19989-2005.  She was a magistrate on the Lancaster bench for 20 years, and served as a member of the Lancashire Advisory Committee.  In 2002 she was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant.  

She took early retirement from the University in 2002, and subsequently served on a number of Home Office committees and as a member of the national Criminal Justice Board.  In 2004 she became a Life Peer, and is currently a Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords.  From 2007-13 she oversaw the regulation of private security, as chair of the Security Industry Authority.

Until 2012, Ruth and her husband commuted between their home in the Lune Valley and London, but Jack was diagnosed in 2008 with an incurable muscle wasting disease, and by 2012 could no longer cope with the weekly travel, so they had to relocate to London.  Hence Ruth has a particularly keen interest in the needs of disabled people and how to improve the care and facilities available to them.

Claire Hensman

Mrs Claire Hensman, Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria

Claire was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria in 2013, having been High Sheriff and served on the Council of The High Sheriffs’ Association. She moved to Cumbria in 1980 after a short career in the City, and became involved in organisations helping disabled and disadvantaged people: trustee and sometime chair of The Bendrigg Trust, volunteer for the Shannon Trust’s literacy programme in prisons, president of Cadas and treasurer of Step by Step (Cumbria) helping rehabilitate people with addictions. She also served on the Board of Westmorland NHS Hospitals Trust and the Council of Lancaster University. She is currently a director of The University of Cumbria.

Lord Roger Liddle

Lord Roger Liddle

UK Labour member of the House of Lords, a pro-chancellor of the University of Lancaster, co-chair of Policy Network and Councillor for the Cumbria County Council.

From 2009-2010, Roger chaired the government’s New Industry, New Jobs advisory panel in the Department of Business Innovation and Skills. From 2007 to 2010 he also chaired Cumbria Vision, the sub-regional economic development partnership in his home County. 

He was for seven years from 1997 special adviser on European affairs to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. From 2004-2007 he served in the European Commission, first in the Cabinet of the EU Trade Commissioner and then as  economic adviser to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. In 2013 he was elected as a member of Cumbria County Council.

Roger has written extensively on European and British affairs, including The Blair Revolution (with Peter Mandelson, 1996), Global Europe, Social Europe (with Anthony Giddens and Patrick Diamond, 2006) and Beyond New Labour (with Patrick Diamond, 2009), and most recently The Europe Dilemma: the Drama of EU Integration (2014), as well as  several other Fabian Society and Policy Network pamphlets.

He also co-authored two papers for the President of the Commission’s thinktank, the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, on “Europe’s Social Reality” (February 2007) and the “Single Market: Yesterday and Tomorrow” (July 2006), and since then has contributed to various edited collections on the Single Market, the social challenges facing Europe, the case for a social investment strategy and Britain’s European policy.

Diana Matthews

Mrs Diana Matthews, JP

Diana Matthews was High Sheriff for Cumbria 2013-14. She succeeded her father in running the family building and property companies.

Recent generations have provided almshouses for Windermere. She is the chairman of trustees of the Cooper Pattinson’s Trust Homes, providing 24 modern sheltered housing units. As High Sheriff, she visited all the almshouse charities of Cumbria, reported to the National Almshouse Association and a programme has been established to meet various needs.

Diana has been a magistrate for 30 years and has been Chairman of her Bench. Her family founded the Windermere Steamboat Museum where Diana was a trustee for 30 years until the charity was handed over to the Lakeland Arts Trust in 2007.

She provides administration for the Cumbria Gardens Trust, has been a past chairman of the Cumbria Branch of the Country Landowners Association and is a trustee of the Wordsworth Trust.

Jan Moore

Mrs Jan Moore

Charitable fundraising over the years included The Greater London Fund for the Blind; KIDS; British Rheumatism and Arthritis Association; The National Youth Music Theatre; and St Peter’s Church Eaton Square (after it was almost totally destroyed by an arsonist!) She was Chairman, and subsequently President, of the Westminster branch of the NSPCC for nine years.

Jan has been a Trustee of the Royal Albert Hall since 1992, and as Chairman of Development Funding, was responsible for raising the final amount needed to complete the £70 million Millenium redevelopment of this Grade 1 building. Currently she and her team continue to ensure the future of the Hall by raising the necessary funds, not only for the building, but also for the very active education programme in music and science for children, which has now been running for 20 years.

In 1997 she was elected Chairman of the Lansdowne Club in London, then in a parlous state, and over the 9 years in office, brought both the building and the membership back to health.
Since moving to West Sussex she has become a Trustee of Chichester Cathedral, and is currently a member of Friends of Sussex Hospices.

Bishop James

The Right Reverend James Newcome, Lord Bishop of Carlisle

Brought up in an Army family and read History at Oxford before ordination training at Ridley Hall. Worked (gap-years) as a housefather in Children’s Homes in Nottinghamshire and as an ambulance driver in Stevenage. Ordained to a title in Watford after a brief spell doing missionary work with BMMF (now Interserve) in India.

Subsequent ministry has included Tutor (Ethics and Pastoral Theology) in a Theological College; Minister of an Ecumenical Project; Rural Dean; Residentiary Canon (Chester Cathedral); DDO and Director of Ministry. Consecrated as Bishop of Penrith in 2002 and became Bishop of Carlisle in 2009. Currently lead bishop for Healthcare and also the URC; Chair of the National Stewardship Committee; President of St John’s College Durham and Deputy Lieutenant for Cumbria.

Married with 4 grown-up children.

Interests include film and the history of art.

Peter Naylor DL

Mr T. Peter Naylor, DL

Peter was born on 5th December 1923 in Wirral, Cheshire. After education at boarding schools (preparatory and public schools), he spent 6 months at Trinity College, Cambridge, on a Royal Air Force short course for potential aircrew members. After a short flying course in the autumn of 1942 he was deemed suitable for pilot training and early in 1943 was sent to Canada, where he attended Elementary and the Senior Flying training courses in Saskatchewan; in August he received his "wings" and was commissioned. A general reconnaissance course in Prince Edward Island fitted Peter for Coastal Command and, after an intermediate job towing gunnary targets off the West Coast of Cumberland, he was in July 1944 sent to Pembroke Dock as a co-pilot in a flying-boat squadron. In May 1945 the squadron was disbanded and Peter was posted to a Transport Command squadron flying troops between Europe and India. 

In 1946 Peter married Patricia (Paddy) Illingworth and, in September of that year, he left the RAF to commence Articles with a firm of Chartered Accountants in London. He qualified as A.C.A. in 1950 and joined Demerara Co. Ltd. in Liverpool, setting out almost immediately to spend 21 months on the company's properties in British Guiana (now Guyana). He returned to Liverpool in 1952 and in a couple of years was appointed a Director, becoming Chairman early in 1968, but leaving early in 1969 when the company was taken over after a hostile bid. During these years in Liverpool Peter had joined the Council of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, of which he became chairman for a few years.

From Liverpool Peter retired full time to the Lake District. He served for about 20 years as a non-executive Director of Provincial Insurance Company Ltd. of Kendal. In 1973 he was elected as a member of the newly-created Cumbria County Council, of which he was a chairman from 1976 to 1980. From 1974 to 1981 he was a council-appointed member of the Lake District National Park Authority. 

Peter served as High Sheriff of Cumbria for the year 1990/91

Simon Rigby

Mr Simon Rigby BSc (Econ), FCCA, MBA, MBE

Simon was one of six children, raised on a 34-acre dairy farm in Warton, on the outskirts of Preston. He attended Kirkham’s Carr Hill High School, St Anne’s College and Hull University. After graduating in 1983, he joined the Yorkshire Electricity Board as a Graduate Trainee (much to his parents delight), with whom he qualified as a Certified Accountant in 1987.

In 1996, Simon led the management buyout of the buildings and grounds maintenance services from Yorkshire Electricity to form Spice. Spice started with 12 employees and one contract in 1996 and by 2008 it employed 4,500 staff worldwide and turned over £400m. Spice floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2004 and entered the FTSE 250 in 2008. Simon was CEO of Spice plc until 2010.

Simon now owns a range of Northern centred businesses.

The Villa Group, a £50m+ turnover business which includes inter alia, The Villa Wrea Green, The Villa Levens, Preston Guild Hall, The Villa Italian, The Villa Express, Clifton Quality Meats and BetSid.

Greengen Group, a £30m+ turnover group which includes LG Energy Group (Industrial & Commercial Third Party Intermediary), Guild Energy (Small & Medium Enterprise TPI), Solargen Plus (Solar Farm operator) and Kirk Group (global energy storage experts).

Safehands Group, a £10m+ turnover child, domiciliary, respite and care in the community business.

R-Group, a commercial and residential property company with £100m of properties including 2500 acres of lowland farms.

At the centre of all these businesses is the acquisition and development of freehold property.

Board of Directors & Trustees

Mrs Ruth Adorian

Founder and Chairman – The Hon. Mrs Ruth Adorian

After leaving school, Ruth Adorian’s first employment was with Skyways, a passenger carrying air service operating from Stansted Airport, where initially she was in charge of in-flight catering.

In 1955 she married Nigel Clarkson Webb, Army Officer, (deceased mid 1980’s). They travelled and lived extensively in Europe, Middle East and the Far East whilst her husband was in active service, returning to England in 1967 with three children – two girls and one boy.

Ruth held a number of appointments, namely:-

  1. General Commissioner Inland Revenue (Kendal). Also on Cumbria County Board of general Commissioners of Inland Revenue.
  2. Governor of Outward Bound, Ullswater.
  3. Chairman, President, Vice President of N.W. Cancer Research Fund, Lunesdale.
  4. Worked for Red Cross Appeal and Great Ormond Street Hospital Appeal for CT Scanner for Lancaster and a number of local charities.
  5. Member of Board of Lancaster Acute Hospital Trust.
  6. Council Member, later appointed to University Court as representative of Duchy of Lancaster to Lancaster University.

Despite her current health problems, Ruth continues to hold Directorships as follows:-

  • Battlefield (Holdings) Ltd
  • Lake District Estates Co Ltd
  • Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Co Ltd
  • Ullswater Navigation and Transit Co Ltd
  • Powered Access Certification Ltd
  • Earlybird Corporation
  • Association for the Independence of the Disabled Ltd
Paul Adorian

Paul Adorian
Managing Director

After school and two years National Service in the RAF, Paul Adorian decided on an engineering based career, which commenced spending three months with Oerlikon in Zurich, Switzerland learning how to manufacture welding electrodes, prior to returning to England to set up a factory for the Rediffusion Group to manufacture welding electrodes in a jointly owned company, REDIWELD-OERLIKON Electrodes.

Bored with factory life, he left to start his own agricultural engineering business in Sussex, which soon grew and became the David Brown Tractor and owned machinery distributor for the county. Looking for an activity which would gainfully employ surplus workshop labour during the winter months, he set up one of the country’s first above ground swimming pool manufacturing businesses, which succeeded in securing contracts with the Ministry of Education for many of the country’s primary schools and also a major contract with the War Office to supply swimming pools to military establishments for the troops posted overseas who needed some respite from tropical climates.

Looking for a change of scene, those businesses were sold and he joined John Laing Construction Ltd to set up a new heavy plant hire company within the group specializing in very high value earth moving plant and cranes to take advantage of the boom in motorway construction that was taking place in the 1970’s. After ten years, after having established the first major rental outlet for aerial work platforms (cherry pickers), he left to set up his own consultancy specializing in aerial access.

Over the following years he established the International Powered Access Federation, which instituted the first truly international construction machine operator training scheme, which now has over 500 training centres in nearly 50 countries and will have trained 750,000 operators by the end of 2014.

Having retired from IPAF in 2003, he now runs a successful European Notified Body company, providing EC Type Examination Certification to major manufacturers of aerial access equipment and currently devotes much of his spare time looking after his wife and in running their newly launched Association for the Independence of Disabled People.


James Clarkson Webb

James Clarkson Webb entered the film & media industry in 1988, working for British and American film production companies before joining a film company in London in 1993 assisting in the making of cinema commercials. This business diversified into Image Rights & Licensing in 1997 and was sold in 2001.

in 2001 James then established a film and commercials production consultancy in London which also continues to advise on image rights. At the same time he joined an Edinburgh based technology business in order to oversee it’s growth and development. This business subsequently diversified and now includes iOS coding, apps finance & development, IT systems security, website design and a tech based investment fund.

In addition to the above James continues to be involved in the financing of feature films and he is actively involved in the Wakefield family’s Cumbrian leisure & property business.

James is married with two sons and lives in North Lancashire


Hon. Legal Advisor - Mr Anthony Rickards Collinson

Tony, a farmer’s son, was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and has worked at JWK Solicitors (and Whiteside and Knowles before the merger) since 1973. As well as being a shareholder and director of JWK, he is Joint Head of the Private Client Department. Tony’s expertise lies in tax planning, wills and trusts for which he is recommended in the Legal 500.

Tony is an elected member of the Private Client Section of the Law Society and a member of ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) as will as being involved with charities including AID, the Lakeland Arts Trust, the Westfield War Memorial Village and St. John's Hospice, Lancaster.

When not busy with work and charity commitments Tony spends his free time enjoying country pursuits and exploring gardens nationally, with a special interest in woodlands.

Natasha Seel

Natasha Seel

Natasha Seel is the granddaughter of the Founder and Chairman, Ruth Adorian.

Natasha attended the University of St Andrews where she obtained an MA (Hons) in French and Social Anthropology, during which time she spent a year in Paris working in a commercial law firm. Natasha then embarked on the Graduate Diploma in Law at Kaplan Law School in London, followed by the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School, before starting a two-year training contract as a trainee solicitor at Watson Farley & Williams LLP. Mid-way through her training contract and working towards qualification in September 2017. Natasha has completed eight months sitting in the Asset Finance and Litigation departments in London and four months with the Asset Finance in the the Paris office.

Passionate about aviation, Natasha worked towards achieving her Private Pilot's Licence in 2009. She trained at Enstone air

field, Oxfordshire and now continues to fly from Oxford Airport. Inspired by her great, great, great unclde and Ruth Adorian's great uncle, Edward Wakefield, who pioneered the first successful aircraft to take off from and alight on water in the British Empire in 1911, Natasha set about to obtain her seaplane rating. In 2012, on being awarded a bursary from the Air League, she trained on Loch Earn and subsequently gained her seaplane licence. Natsaha is a member of the British Women Pilots' Association and is on the committee of the Leading Edge Panel for the Air League, which promotes aviation to youth.


Georgina Anne Townsend

Georgina Townsend, the eldest of Chairman and Founder, Ruth Adorian's children, brings her considerable organisational skills to our Association following her earlier career involvement which demanded nothing but the best. 

Following school at Benenden, then attendance at Cambridge School of Arts and Technology, she commenced her career as Assistant to the Director of Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal, Cumbria. From there she was invited to join the Lord Chamberlain's Office as Official Functions Administrator. 

Thereafter, to broaden her experience, she became P.A. to the Director of Finance at Conservative Party H.Q. in London

Her next appointment was as Social Secretary to the Governor of Hong Kong. Several years later in 1981 she returned home to Cumbria and married Christopher, who she met in Hong Kong. 

In 1986 she returned to the Lord Chamberlain's Office at Buckingham Palace to help him with the organisation of H.M. The Queen's 60th Birthday Celebrations. 

Later that year she returned to The Palace to assist with the organisation of H.R.H. Prince Andrew's Wedding.

Georgina and Christopher have two daughters, Alexandra (29) and Rosanna (27), both working in the travel and sports industries respectively

She holds othe Directorships within her family's companies and her leisure interests include her Family, Sport and Travel. 


Melanie Williamson

Melanie Williamson was educated at Wycombe Abbey and Cranleigh School, and after a year at Kent School, Connecticut, on an English Speaking Union Scholarship, started working at Cannon Cinemas as their Administration Manager. Eighteen months later she went on a year's 'working holiday' to Australia before returning to the UK to start her career in film and TV publicity. After five years at JAC Publicity & Marketing Consultants, Melanie was head-hunted by BSkyB and moved to work in the Sky1 Publicity Department. Eleven years later, after becoming Head of Sky1 Publicity, she left to start her own business, Ellaim PR. Now the mother of two girls, freelancing was a much preferred option, and she worked for such companies as BBC1, CNN, Sony Pictures Television International, Sky1 and ESPN Classic.  She is currently working for the charity TourAid, helping with their Press and PR campaigns. Melaine is a Govenor of Cranleigh School, at which her eldest daughter is in her second year.



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