THE MEMORY of one of the Lake District’s best-known athletes is being kept alive by his family.
Celebrated runner Pete Bland, who set up the popular Kendal running store Pete Bland Sports, passed away on November 28, 2020, after a short illness with Covid.
He left behind wife Anne, children Louise and Matt, son and daughter-in-law Glen and Tracey and grandchildren Robbie, Holly and Billy, as well as a host of friends forged in the running community.
The 79-year-old, who was also the organiser of the iconic Rydal Round fell race, regularly raised money for various causes and after his death his family decided to set up a fundraiser in honour of him.
Almost £5,000 has now been raised for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Lake District Calvert Trust and the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association.
Mr Bland’s son, Matthew, said the fundraiser was a fitting tribute to his late father.
“They were charities that were very close to mum and dad,” he said.
“There are other things we will do going forward but at the time it was something we could set up quite easily and we knew we could raise some money for those charities.
“My dad was a well-respected individual.”
Amongst the huge support from members of the community there were also sizeable donations from the Kentmere Horseshoe Fell Race-which Mr Bland organised for many years- and another came from Pete Bland Sport.
“A big thank you to everybody who did donate,” said Matthew.
“It was something we thought we should do after his death and to give something back to those three charities to keep them going and support them.”
And Mr Bland’s family has plenty more fundraisers planned as they celebrate 40 years of Pete Bland Sports.
“We’re in our 40th year at Pete Bland Sport so it’s quite fitting that we do something in dad’s memory and the anniversary of our business,” said Matthew.
“We just had to sit tight with Covid and the pandemic.
“Hopefully from March we can look ahead and see what the year looks like in terms of celebrating that the business is 40 years old.
“And certainly, dad will be at the centre of that.”