THE founder of one of the most popular motorway service stations in the country has been given a top award.

Eden District Council has announced that John Dunning has been awarded an Inspiring Eden Award for his outstanding contribution to the region's business and economy.

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.

But his contributions to the Eden economy and business community extend beyond his role at Westmorland Motorway Services. 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.

Councillor Douglas Banks, Chair of Eden District Council, said: “This Inspiring Eden award is well, well deserved. 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. Definitely well deserved.”

Mr Dunning 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.”