Les Ainsworth earns sport volunteer honour

Posted by Tony Ryan on 25/11/2010
Bobby Charlton admires Les Ainsworth's tie. Pic: John Mason

Congratulations to BMC North West Area volunteer Les Ainsworth, who has received a prestigious national award in recognition of his exceptional contribution to volunteering in sport.

Les was presented with the Torch Trophy Trust award by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at the annual award ceremony at the Army and Navy Club in London on Monday 15 November. He was one of 19 sport volunteers who were honoured at the presentation. Les was proposed by former BMC Vice President John Mason and nominated by the BMC for his contribution to the BMC and climbing, which has been unique in its longevity, consistency and single-mindedness.

Les Ainsworth has worked tirelessly for climbers for more than 46 years. As a 16 year old in 1964 he began to collate information on climbs in the North West from as many sources as he could draw on, exhaustively exploring the potential of quarries, outcrops and new climbs. In 1967 his first article was published in The Climber entitled, ‘The Unrealised Climbing Potential in Lancashire’.

This provided the impetus for his next two projects: the publication of the first pure rock climbing magazine ‘RockSport’ in 1968, and the first edition of ‘Lancashire, A Guide to Rock Climbs’. The magazine ‘RockSport’ was an innovation in its day. It ran for several years and inspired some long lived successors. Les has continued to edit and produce guidebooks throughout the intervening years. They have provided a unique and complete record of all the climbs in Lancashire and Cheshire from the earliest days of climbing in both counties.

Since 1995 he has been the Access Representative for the BMC North West Area. These posts are often unsung and require much lengthy diplomacy, negotiation with landowners and other vested interests, including large companies and organisations like United Utilities and the RSPB. Les has secured unlikely access agreements, including access to climbing and protection of sites with delicate fauna and flora. Les is also a member of the BMC Access, Conservation & Environment Group and worked tirelessly with the BMC to help secure the purchase of two quarries, Craig y Longridge and Wilton Quarries, for the benefit of climbers and recreation.

Les Ainsworth is one of the great characters of British climbing who has led by example for more than 40 years. He was made a BMC Honorary Member in 2006.

About the Torch Trophy Trust
The Torch Trophy Trust supports and promotes the work of volunteers across all sports and recreation activities throughout the UK. The Trust is entirely run by volunteers; its Trustees are some of the best known names in sport, and include President Sir Bobby Charlton, CBE and Chairman Roger Uttley, OBE. The Central Council of Physical Recreation provides the day to day administrative support for the work of the Trust.

Previous recipients of the Torch Trophy Trust award from the mountaineering community include Bill Ruthven, Bob Moulton and Henry Folkard.

If you'd like to get involved with the BMC's volunteer activities, contact the BMC.
 



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