Wonder women land top awards

June Hall

Renna Kellaway

First published in News

TWO women who have made their mark on South Lakeland and Eden have been rewarded for their dedication to the region and its culture.

June Hall was named Cumbria Woman of the Year while Renna Kellaway MBE received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cumbria Women of the Year Awards 2012.

They were both ‘surprised’ and ‘delighted’ to receive the accolades at the ceremony at the Storrs Hall Hotel at Windermere.

Mrs Hall, of Newbiggin, Stainton, is a tutor in textile skills and has helped organise countless events including Woolfest at Cockermouth. She is also seen as an authority on local history and was recognised for her ‘outstanding commitment’ to the Cumbrian community.

“Those who know me wouldn’t believe that I am speechless,” she said. “I had no idea that this would happen.”

Mrs Hall, who is also the vice chairman of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, added: “When we have our ups and downs in life, if we can only try to use the time we have and the energy we have to do as much as we can for the people around us.”

Mrs Kellaway, who lives near Kirkby Lonsdale, set up the Lake District Summer Music festival in 1985 with the intention of putting the area on the musical map — and she has certainly managed that. “It was a real surprise and it is a great privilege and a great honour to receive this award,” she said. “I had no idea why I was being asked to come to the awards ceremony.”

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A concert pianist and music teacher, Mrs Kellaway has performed around the world and when she first visited the Lake District on her honeymoon she was soon under its spell.

“It has its own magic and that magic and warmth permeates through,” she said. “Artists respond to the geographical beauty of it. “I thought it was so inspiring.”

It all led to the foundation of the festival, now based at Brathay Hall, near Ambleside, which continues to go from strength to strength after 28 years.

The event features world-class musicians and a residential training academy for talented youngsters, based on Mrs Kellaway’s belief in the power of music to change lives.

“This is the ideal place to have a music festival because of its location between Manchester and Edinburgh,” said Mrs Kellaway. “Festival goers come up from Cheltenham to us and then on to Edinburgh.

“There was a heritage of painters and poets in the Lakes, but not music particularly, so I just hoped this event would become a part of Cumbrian cultural heritage which I believe has happened.”

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