THE life of an eminent geologist and former Lake District mountain rescuer will be remembered by family and friends next week.

St Mary's Church, Ambleside, is to host a memorial service at 11am on Friday, November 22, for grandfather-of-four Iain Ashworth Williamson, who has died aged 87.

Mr Williamson's family told the Gazette he died peacefully on November 2 after a short illness, aged 87.

Greatly respected for his expertise in coal mining geology, Mr Williamson was a member of Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team for many years.

He remained active until recent months and enjoyed his walks around Ambleside and then Kendal, where he spent his final months.

Born on November 14, 1931, the young Iain had "a passion for field geology" from an early age. He enjoyed all aspects of mountaineering, maps and history, and spent "many happy hours immersed in books".

He attended Burnley Grammar School from 1942 to 1950 and Nottingham University from 1955 to 1958, graduating with a BSc in Geology, and an MSc in 1960.

Mr Williamson travelled to many parts of the globe as part of his work and research, including some very remote parts of South America. A very accomplished golfer, he declined the chance to turn professional in favour of his studies.

He was devoted to Pat (née Holt), his wife of 60 years, and was the proud father of Roger and Katie, and grandfather to Ross, Bill, Ambrose and Digby. Roger followed in his father's footsteps as a geologist, until his death in 2010.

A distinguished career saw Mr Williamson elected as a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1953, and then a Senior Fellow.

He was also a member of the Manchester Geological Association from 1951; the Lancashire group of the Geologists’ Association from 1950; the Yorkshire Geological Society from 1950; and the Institution of Mining Engineers from 1965.

He was a senior lecturer at Wigan Mining College from 1958 to 1980, and was also a successful and highly sought-after geological consultant from the early 1970s.

Widely published, he wrote several papers in the last 50 years and was the author of Coal Mining Geology, published in 1967.

Mr Williamson's family shared his poignant words: "My most fundamental belief is in there being a God to whom all natural things belong. Please do not grieve - and remember me when the wind blows in your face and when you are walking in a blizzard, enjoying the sensation of nature. I’m now on my next and probably my greatest adventure."