ALTHOUGH it is a quarter of a century since the death of legendary guidebook author Alfred Wainwright, there continues to be an enduring fascination with his life and achievements.

Not just in Cumbria, the home of his beloved fells, but throughout the rest of the UK and much of the world beyond.

But AW was a reluctant celebrity who shied from the limelight, instead preferring his Lakeland fell books with their descriptive flourishes and memorable sketches to speak for him.

You could be forgiven for thinking, therefore, what he might have thought about people today using the 25th anniversary of his passing as an excuse to make more fuss about his legacy.

But a fuss is inevitable given the AW's renown.

No one else in recent times has done more when it comes to promoting the dramatic beauty of the Lake District; and in that regard he stands among other iconic figures like William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter who are also indelibly linked to the area's landscape and heritage.

Visitors to the Lakes - particularly those who trek the fells in his footsteps - might wonder why there is no permanent memorial to such a legend, such as a statue in Kendal town centre.

AW and his family are said to have dismissed these sorts of suggestions. But would it be disrespectful to his memory to disregard this and commemorate the great man's life with an impressive physical monument erected in Wainwright's Yard?

There are sound arguments in favour, principally of an economic nature. Eric Morecambe's statue in Morecambe and Laurel and Hardy's in Ulverston are both credited for attracting visitors to the towns.

It is not fanciful to imagine an Alfred Wainwright statue doing the same in Kendal.

There is a serious proposal for a statue at Carnforth Station to commemorate the filming of Brief Encounter there in the 1940s but that could flounder because of the cost.

Given AW's popularity, raising cash to pay for a statue of him might not be a big problem.

Yet there is remains a strong case against it.

If we respect AW's legacy, it could be argued that we should also respect his wishes.