All of us here at the Mountain Heritage Trust are absolutely thrilled and delighted to be able to wish our Patron, John Innerdale a very Happy 90th Birthday today.
However, John is so very much more than simply being ‘our Patron’. He was a founder trustee of MHT and, after being Vice-Chair to Sir Chris Bonington, was our Chair from 2005 to 2008 - a hugely important period during which his drive and leadership secured many vitally important collections which might otherwise have been sold or split apart. He also recognised the crucial importance for the MHT of employing their own professionally qualified archivist, a practice that has continued to this day. Alongside the MHT, John invested countless hours in helping establish the National Mountaineering Exhibition that ran at Rheged from 2001 to 2007. This was opened by Tony Blair, attracted well over 250,000 visitors, and received a 99% visitor satisfaction rating.
After ‘retiring’ to the Lake District from a very successful architectural practice three decades ago, John’s boundless energy have amongst other endeavours been shared with a range of organisations and interests. He was a member of two Mountain Rescue teams, is a keen apiarist, a skilled painter, an enthusiastic sailor and also fundraised for his local yacht club and to build a community play area in his village. John’s enormous enthusiasm for the world around him was rightly recognised officially by the award of an MBE in 2014.
Many of the Trust’s collections capture that remarkable post-war period when mountaineering in its broadest form began to capture the imagination of so many people right across the classes. Along with our other Patrons, John Innerdale is a living link to this era. His quiet and unassuming nature mean that his achievements may be less known than others but they are no less important in so many respects. We await his promised memoirs with huge enthusiasm.
In so many ways, John Innerdale is the father of the Mountain Heritage Trust. He has gifted literally thousands of hours to us, and to his other interests and passions, and he continues to do so. His energy, drive and boundless enthusiasm are an example to us all, and everybody at the MHT wishes him the happiest of days with Diana, their children and grandchildren.