Well-known freelance journalist, photographer and keen climber Tony Greenbank has died aged 86.
Described as a “true lover of Lakeland”, Tony was a journalist and a photographer for well over half a century and until recently wrote the Country Diary for the Guardian newspaper.
He specialised in outdoor features providing words and pictures and was a regular contributor to Cumbria and Dalesman magazines among others.
Former editor of Cumbria magazine Terry Fletcher said: “Tony was a prolific contributor during my time as editor of the magazine. He was a true lover of Lakeland.”
Tony, was born in Settle, North Yorkshire, but spent many years in Cumbria, living in Ambleside and latterly at Lakehead Court in Keswick.
He served in the RAF from 1952 to 1954 and worked as a chartered librarian for a time in the 50s.
He was the first Outward Bound instructor in Cumbria but moved on to work as an instructor in Colorado in America.
In his younger days, Tony also spoke about working for magazines and comics such as Eagle, Girl Annual and Boy’s Own Paper, and wrote several climbing and outdoor books under the name Anthony Greenbank.
Always a keen climber, he was a close friend of mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, who said: “Climbing was his (Tony’s) first love. He always had a wonderful enthusiasm, he was just fun to be around and he was a very thoughtful man.”
In 1972, he made a film for the BBC presenter Bob Langley, who at that time lived Keswick, in which he illustrated some amazing and amusing facts in a book he’d just written called Mr Tough. “A real mountain man,” said Langley.
Publishers Inspired by Lakeland say: “He was a towering figure in Lakeland journalism. One of Lakeland’s great writers and observers for more than five decades.”
One of his last writings was for a book about Cumbria artists during the lockdown, Through the Locking Glass, which featured four vignettes in his inimitable style and featured personalities like Threlkeld farmer Geordie Hutton and climber David Birkett.
Fellow veteran journalist Ross Brewster, who writes a weekly column in the Keswick Reminder, said: “He was a good man and a fascinating writer. One of the true characters of Lakeland.”
Tony leaves children Mark, Hannah, Heather and Rebecca and will be missed by them and his grandchildren Harry, Billy, Ishbelle and Josh.