Changing of the guard at Calvert Lakes: A Warm Welcome and a Fond Farewell

This week, Calvert Lakes, The Lake District Calvert Trust’s residential centre above Bassenthwaite welcomes a new Chief Instructor to their team while wishing the current one a very fond farewell.

Kendal-based Andy Thompson has swapped a south-bound motorway commute for a more leisurely northly commute through the glorious Lake District to lead Calvert’s team of highly specialised instructors who help make the Lake District accessible to over 3000 guests every year.

Andy joins the Lake District Calvert Trust after four years for with Lancashire County Council (LCC) where he was Senior Instructor at Borwick Hall and Tower Wood, welcoming primary school age children on residential courses.

Prior to LCC he worked for nine years for The Outward Bound Trust in the Ullswater valley, and also spent time working for Brathay Trust on Lake Windermere as well as working in North Wales at St David’s College.  Andy worked at Underley Gardens School near Kirby Lonsdale, teaching Outdoor Education to students with complex needs. This sparked an interest in working further with people living with disability, so when the Chief Instructor role was advertised, Andy sprung into action and began the application process.

Said Andy:
“I’ve always admired the work of specialist residential centres like Calvert Lakes. Obviously I’m looking forward to meeting and supporting the thousands of participants who visit every year, but I was also drawn to the opportunity of helping shape and develop the amazing individuals who work in the instructing team.”

Over the past few weeks, Andy has been working closely with outgoing, long standing chief instructor Phil Blair. This thorough induction process has included experiencing all the accessible activities from a participant perspective.

Andy continued:
“This time with Phil has been absolutely invaluable. He’s generously shared with me his depth and breadth of technical knowledge particularly around wheelchair users and the exceptional activities such as wheelchair abseils that centres including Calvert Lakes are able to offer.”

Andy is looking forward to building on Phil’s foundations, bringing to bear his experience and skill sets and developing the Calvert activities programme into the future. When he’s not hard at it in the workplace, you’ll find Andy enjoying his passion for fell running. With Keswick’s ranges as his new playground, he’s looking forward to running the fellside of Skiddaw in his downtime.

As one enters, another embarks on new adventures. And so, the whole Lake Distirct Calvert Trust team bid a fond ‘au revoir’ to Phil Blair. Phil is a seasoned veteran of the Lake District Calvert Trust having joined in April 2012 at the tender age of just 20, originally as a trainee instructor. Over the subsequent 12 years, Phil has worked his way through the ranks, finally ascending to the role of Chief Instructor in January 2022.

Since then, Phil has expertly managed up to 14 highly specialist instructors who help delivery life changing experiences to over 3000 guests annually living with the most profound disabilities from around the UK.

As he leaves Calvert in Andy’s safe and experience hands, he looks forward to embracing new challenges working with a number of different organisations, helping to spread his expertise and knowledge, far and wide. The Calvert team wish him all the very best and look forward to welcoming him back to Calvert Lakes in one of his first assignments as a freelance instructor in July this year!

Chief Executive Sean Day commented:

“We’re blessed on two fronts here: firstly, to have had Phil’s services, expertise and company over the last 12 years and secondly, to have been able to secure such an experienced and capable replacement in the form of Andy. I look forward to following how each of them progress in their new roles and wish them both the very best of luck.”

To find out more about the work of Calvert Lakes, visit