A leading Cumbrian businessman has been recognised for his contribution to the economy.
John Dunning has been given an Inspiring Eden Award by Eden council.
He was founder chairman of Westmorland the operator of motorway services, which over five decades has established itself as a top provider of services known for its exceptional customer service and its innovative and transformative impact on that industry.
He has been an active member of the local business community for many years, supporting initiatives to promote economic growth and sustainability in the region. He has been an advocate for the development of sustainable tourism practices in the Eden region, promoting initiatives that support the local economy while preserving the natural beauty of the area. In 1992, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for public service in Cumbria.
John has been a keen supporter of the Eden Tourism Network in the past. He was also integral in helping shaping initial thinking around the Inspiring Eden programme and in particular, provided critical insights for the Inspiring Eden Farmers Support and Advisory Service.
The Inspiring Eden Award is a recognition of John’s lifelong dedication to excellence in business and his unwavering commitment to the Eden region.
Receiving the award, John said: “This is very kind indeed of Eden District Council. I am retired now and didn’t think I’d be in the running for awards in this part of my life!”
Councillor Douglas Banks, chair of Eden District Council said: “John has done an awful lot for the area; not just in terms of bricks and mortar – with Westmorland Hotel, Tebay Services and Rheged – but he was also heavily involved in helping and encouraging hill farmers to diversify and look after the landscape.”
Reflecting on the future of the area, John added: “Cumbria is the most rural and mountainous county. Historically farming, extraction and associated businesses were central to its economy. Today the sub-region is increasingly cherished for its landscape, ecology, tourism and recreational potential, within its agricultural tradition, that together offer great opportunity.
“Over the years government sponsored many economic interventions, some with great promise, all of which were washed away by changing government priorities. Only by a strong measure of local economic control can the values and opportunities of this most rural sub-region be coordinated and brought to fruition and prosperity.”
The Inspiring Eden award was launched by Eden District Council, as part of its wider initiative of the same name.
A limited number of awards have been designed and produced, and are being awarded to a select list of organisations and individuals in Eden that demonstrate a strong commitment to achieving rural excellence within the local economy.