BILL Grant, one of the leading lights in Cumbria's visual and performing arts world, has died aged 83.

Glasgow-born Mr Grant, OBE and MBE, started working at Grizedale Forest in 1937 as a trainee forester.

He set up the Grizedale Society in 1969 and was the driving force behind its unique 230-seater Theatre-in-the-Forest venue, which attracted top entertainers such as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dame Judi Dench, Julian Lloyd Webber and jazz player Kenny Ball.

During his 27 years as director of the society he was responsible for creating one of the largest collections of sculptures in the landscape in Europe.

He was also a founder member of the British Deer Society and had a great love of wildlife.