Saying thank you to health walk volunteers

Inspirational volunteers have won awards for helping people stay fit and happy by joining local health walks.

There are more than 60 regular, volunteer-led health walks around Lincolnshire. They come under the national Walking for Health scheme ran by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support.

During a recent celebration event at Market Rasen Racecourse, 13 of the hard-working volunteers behind the health walks were recognised with awards.

Sue Crew, a Walk Leader in Louth, was one of 11 people presented with a Special Recognition Award by Lincolnshire Co-op Board Member Stuart Parker.

Lincolnshire Co-op began supporting health walks in Lincoln, South Kesteven and East Lindsey in April and is working alongside existing co-ordinators in South Holland, North Kesteven and West Lindsey, and community group Boston Health Walks.

The group walks boost people’s physical and mental health by helping them meet others, enjoy their local area and feel fitter. The walks last between 30 and 90 minutes and run once a week.

It’s the walk leaders, helpers and other volunteers whose time and hard work make them possible, and Sue has been involved in the health walks since 2013 after retiring from work as a mental health nurse. 

We’ve got three volunteers in Louth, one of them does a shorter walk and two of us do a longer walk,” she said.

I love it. I think it’s a really good way of relieving stress and making you healthier.”

Walk Leaders Ernie and Carol Wilkinson from Manby, near Louth, were honoured with a Long Service Award each.

They’re celebrating 13 years of walking after setting up their first group walk for East Lindsey Heart Support back in October 2004, to help people with heart conditions stay active. The walks are held in a different location in East Lindsey each Sunday.

 “Myself and Ernie have both got heart problems but it’s something you have to get on with. Your life can be just as good afterwards. Our average age in the group must be 70 and we’ve got some people in their 80s walking with us,” Carol said.

“One of the big benefits is the social aspect because we do have people that are single, they perhaps lost a husband or wife and had walked as a couple, but still want to continue walking. We‘ve had some successes where people have walked together and become partners.”

Lincolnshire Co-op Community and Health Walks Co-ordinator Carly Pillay said: “It’s important to say thank you because the determination and dedication of the volunteers, come rain or shine, means the health walks can go ahead.  

“Each of the winners were put forward by other volunteers and the nominations just blew us away. The winners all go the extra mile, whether that’s supporting others on the walks, encouraging people to join up or doing vital work to keep them going.

“Helping people stay healthy is important to us and we’re proud to work with all the volunteers.”

To find a walk near you and more information, visit www.lincolnshire.coop/healthwalks

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