ASSOCIATES and friends of legendary Lake District figure Alfred Wainwright are being invited to a special gathering by the man who presides over a comprehensive collection of the great man's work.

Chris Butterfield curates a huge collection of Wainwright books and memorabilia, which he says is growing almost daily.

He is also the custodian of all existing Wainwright book printing material including original book artwork and reams of other documentation including printing contracts, invoices and accounts.

"It has been a project that has taken three years to get me where I am now," said Mr Butterfield, who is originally from West Yorkshire and now lives in the Edinburgh area but is a frequent visitor to Kendal which he regards as his "spiritual home."

"It is not just Wainwright printing history, it is Cumbrian printing history."

The biggest items are the original guidebook negatives from the 1970s that were created direct from Wainwright's original pages, the only set in existence.

And the collection also includes Wainwright's very own 'Kendal Holiday Week' brochures which appeared during World War Two.

These detailed activities to keep Kendal folk occupied in the town during the conflict and were published in the years 1942-44, and though extremely successful at the time, Mr Butterfield believes these are the only such brochures still in existence.

In addition to the books, the collection contains negatives, positives, artwork, dust jackets, cases, manuscripts, Westmorland Gazette marketing material, proofs and documentation including a sizeable amount of material which was never published.

It also includes 'blocking' produced by The Westmorland Gazette which was used for the gold foil on the Wainwright book cases.

The vast archive of material will be featuring in the upcoming film 'Life of a Mountain: Helvellyn,' the third part of a trilogy by revered Cumbrian film maker Terry Abraham.

And to mark the completion of his lengthy labour of love Mr Butterfield is arranging the special get together of Wainwright associates which will be held shortly in Kendal.

Those invited include Derry Brabbs, who provided the photographs for many of Wainwright's books and TV presenter Eric Robson as well as Mr Abraham.

"Some of these are people haven't even met before, so it is going to be an historical gathering of these personalities," he said.

The invitation only event is planned to take place in early November though a date and venue have still to be finalised.