Dedicated volunteers have won awards for going above and beyond while encouraging people to stay healthy by joining local health walks.
There are more than 60 regular volunteer-run health walks across Lincolnshire’s seven districts, which all come under the national Ramblers Walking for Health scheme.
During a recent celebration event at Woodland Waters in Ancaster, eight of the hard-working volunteers who help lead health walks were recognised with honours.
Lincolnshire Co-op supports health walks in Lincoln, South Kesteven and East Lindsey alongside other agencies such as Greenwich Leisure and 1Life. They help bring together a network of walks across the whole county.
Jan Barratt from Ancaster is a walk leader in the village. She was presented with a special recognition award.
It’s the walk leaders, helpers and volunteers whose time and hard work make the walk programme possible. And Jan has been pivotal in supporting her group and goes the extra mile to ensure they are well looked after. As there isn’t a local café in the area, she kindly hosts the group after the walk at her house for tea and refreshments.
Jan is a founding member of the Ancaster health walking group since it started ten years ago and continues to regularly lead walks three to four times a week.
“It’s always nice to be recognised with the award even if it is a bit embarrassing,”
"The walks are very beneficial for people and I know from my own experience that I feel much healthier since starting. I think it’s more about the social side too as a lot of the walkers in my age bracket can find themselves in a lonely place if family have passed away.
"Being on walks it gets you out of the house, you speak to like-minded people and build friendships.” Jan added.
Friends Margaret Smith and Sue Wright from Saxilby both received special recognition awards for their volunteering with the Saxilby Strollers group. They have both been involved with the group since the beginning ten years ago and continue to lead regular walks.
They never miss a walk, whatever the weather, and are always there to greet walkers with a smile.
“It’s been amazing and right out of the blue, we really didn’t expect to get this award.” Sue said.
“The numbers in our walking group have been growing week by week and that’s a great thing to look back on. It’s more like a social event for people. The talking and meeting new friends is just as important as the exercise.” Margaret said.
Health walks can benefit people in lots of ways. As well as improving people’s physical wellbeing, walkers can meet others and enjoy their local area, enhancing their mental health.
Walk lasts between 30 and 90 minutes and take place on a regular basis. Groups cater for different abilities so everyone can enjoy walks at their own pace.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s Chief Executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “It’s inspiring to meet our volunteer walk leaders and we’re immensely proud of them. We want to say thank you for their dedication and enthusiasm in leading groups and supporting others.
“Winners were put forward by fellow volunteer leaders and walkers and we were impressed with some of the nominations that came in. Amongst many attributes, they were praised for their commitment, friendliness, encouragement and endless kindness.”
To find a walk near you and more information, visit www.lincolnshire.coop/healthwa...
Roll of honour
Chris Dorrington - Boston walk
Chris always has a smile and a story to tell and that is why his walking group love him. He is patient and shows great empathy with walkers on the Monday morning walk in Boston, who have learning difficulties.
Sheila Grossmith - Heckington walk
She has been involved with the Heckington group since it started six years ago and during that time has developed over 20 local walks, detailing them all in her walks notebook.
Shirley Thompson - Sleaford walk
Shirley has been part of the Sleaford health walking group since it first began over ten years ago and she’s been walking weekly ever since and encourages others to join in.
Ken Taylor - Gainsborough walk
He never lets the group down and never misses a weekly walk. He ensures all members feel welcome, supported and always encourages all abilities to take part. A fellow walk leader said “I feel an award for this reliable and caring man would be highly appropriate. He is a huge success for our team and true inspiration to all.”
Caroline Moore – Welton walk
She joined her walk group to improve her fitness and walks miles with her dog Jago. When she used to get the bus, she made the most of the time on the journey by recruiting other walkers and nearly the bus driver himself! She now drives and provides lifts for other walkers.