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Thinking how to be kinder to Kinder

Friday 3 May 2019

Speakers at the Spirit of Kinder event“Think how to be… Kinder.” That was the message of former Pulp frontman and BBC Radio 2 presenter Jarvis Cocker at the Spirit of Kinder Day at Castleton on Saturday (April 27).

Jarvis, who grew up in Sheffield and was introduced to Kinder Scout on school  orienteering courses, is collaborating with Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller to create a walk with artistic interventions from Edale Station to Kinder Scout.

Jarvis said he was hoping his project would: “…encourage people to be kind to the landscape, to be kind to the environment. To make them stop, close their eyes, think for a moment, think how to be kinder. Think how to be… Kinder.”

The arrival of Storm Hannah meant that the event could not be held as planned outside in The Winnats Pass, but was held in The Peveril Centre in Castleton and attended by about 400 people.

The rally was chaired by Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, who made a passionate plea for more support and resources for British National Parks.

Andrew set out the achievements of the Peak District National Park over the last 70 years and how it had tried to realise the ambition of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespassers and other early access campaigners.

In the face of recent 40 per cent budget cuts from central government, Andrew called for greater resources, as well as public and political support, to help make National Parks an ever greater force for good and carry the spirit of Kinder forward for a new generation.

“Many people don’t realise it, but most of our National Parks are run on a budget which is equivalent to that of a medium-sized comprehensive school,” he added.

In addition to celebrating 70 years of the foundation of our National Parks, the rally was also part of the National Trust’s People’s Landscape campaign. The Trust’s Director General, Hilary McGrady, described how the restoration of Kinder Scout was part of the Trust’s 50-year vision for the High Peak Moors.

Other speakers included Lord David Blunkett, former Home Secretary and president of the South Yorkshire & North East Derbyshire Ramblers, and Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Environment Minister, who recalled Lewis Silkin’s words in introducing the 1949 Act as “a people’s charter for the open air.”

Ruth George, local MP for High Peak, recalled taking her four children up onto Kinder for the first time, and how important it was that the people of the surrounding towns and cities used sustainable public transport to reach the Peak.

Lynn Robinson, president of the British Mountaineering Council (which also celebrates its 75th anniversary this year), had collected a bag of litter from her morning walk, and described the BMC’s successful Mend our Mountains footpath restoration campaign, and its new Hills to Ocean (H2O) initiative.

In another People’s Landscape project, artists Instar worked with different groups including local schoolchildren to design and make banners and rucksack badges. The banners were paraded down from The Winnats Pass and the badges were presented by members of the Edale Junior Rangers to the ‘Trespass Elders’ – members of the Kinder & High Peak Advisory Committee at the rally.

The artistic commissions were supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, with additional support from Art Fund and Breedon Cement.

In addition, a group from the National Trust’s Arts and Crafts Wightwick Manor house near Wolverhampton, brought a banner showing its former owner, Sir Geoffrey Mander MP, who was a regular speaker at the Winnats rallies in the 1930s.

Music was provided by the Clarion Band, led by Mike Rimmington.

Pictured above at the Spirit of Kinder speakers: front - Lynne Robinson, President of the British Mountaineering Council; Ruth George, High Peak MP; middle - Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Environment Minister; Jarvis Cocker; back - Lord David Blunkett, Andrew McCloy. Not in the picture, but spoke at the event - Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust.

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