ONE of the Lakeland Motor Museum's best loved stalwarts is to retire after more than 25 years' service.

Edwin Maher’s name has been synonymous with the tourist attraction since he joined the business in June 1993 at the age of 39.

At the time, it was located at Holker Hall, before a move to the current larger premises in Backbarrow in 2010.

Mr Maher took on a wider role in 2013, as sales and distribution manager for the museum’s parent company, Winander Leisure.

Having been part of the museum’s team for almost three quarters of the attraction’s history, he oversaw the museum’s dramatic growth from a modest collection of motor cars to one of the country’s leading transport heritage attractions, drawing 80,000 visitors every year.

“Amusingly, the only reason I was given the job back in 1993 was because I wasn’t actually interested in old cars,” said Mr Maher.

But he recognised the museum’s potential immediately and began a programme of transformation over the following five years.

“It was important to me to raise the museum’s profile and develop recognition that the collection of vehicles and memorabilia was of significant importance in preserving motoring heritage for posterity," he added.

“I’d always considered the museum to be rather special and I wanted to help it become a world class heritage attraction.

“I really do believe I have succeeded in that task.

"It was especially satisfying to see the museum celebrate its 40th anniversary last year, after being named ‘Britain’s Best Classic Destination’ by Practical Classics magazine.”

A highlight of his time with the museum was when it was named Cumbria’s ‘Best Small Visitor Attraction’ at the Cumbria Tourism Awards.

“I’ve enjoyed my time working with Winander Leisure, it’s been great fun and I’ve made many friends along the way," said Mr Maher.

“There have been so many amazing changes since I joined the Lakeland Motor Museum and it’s been a real pleasure to be a part of that.”

Les Micklethwaite, Chairman of the Lakeland Motor Museum, said: “We are sure that Lakeland Motor Museum would not have been as successful as it is today had it not been for Edwin’s efforts.”