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Archie Boyd began walking with Walking for Wellbeing in 2003. Here he testifies how the group helped him through a very difficult period in his life.


My association with the Walking for Wellbeing project started in September 2003. That was when I first met Ken Dougan, Health Connect’s Walking for Wellbeing Coordinator. Just a few months before that I had lost my Beloved Wife Winifred after over 53 years of marriage. Even with my family of 2 sons and 2 daughters and many other members of the family around me, I felt I was living in a black hole.

It was about then that my sister Janet talked to me about the walking group in Barrhead, which I finally joined. Janet joined the group a few weeks later. At that time in my life I would have liked to pull the plug on it all, but that is not how life works. So I joined the Walking for Wellbeing group, with Ken the Coordinator, and Graham and James as the Walk Leaders. All this time, I was receiving support, comfort and friendship from people in the walking group, many of them knowing what I was going through. Even though I had lived in Barrhead all my days, I met new people from Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor and they all helped me along the way and I got out and about again.

Unfortunately at this time neither Ken, Graham or James knew Barrhead very well and were keeping the walking around the centre of the town. As I have lived in the town all my days I talked to Ken about this, then one Tuesday he said to me “Well Archie, have you got a walk for us today?”. That was the start of my training by Ken Dougan and it is still going on today. With his smile he can talk anyone into doing the task ahead.


The next step was being sent on a Walk Leader training course along with Allen Walker from our group. I think there were about 26 of us, and it was very instructive for the tasks ahead. After that it was on a short one day first aid course, very helpful, though I hope I will never need to use it. Since then I have taken it upon myself the task to survey new walks around the town and the surrounding area. Now I am often asked to lead the group, and it is a pleasure for me when I can lead the walkers in a new walk even out of the town. We usually walk between 2 ½ and 3 miles, which all of our group enjoy and are now able for. But the highlight for me this year was when Ken allowed me to organize and lead the group on our first long walk.

Walking for Wellbeing is about helping to improve a person’s health and life style, and during the past two years, the walkers in the Barrhead group, I think, have shown that themselves and feel the better for it. I myself had angina and 5 ½ years ago I had an angioplastic operation with a stent fitted and was then put on medicine for the rest of my days. Now I am no longer on the medicine, except for a small aspirin and much of this is down to walking. It is said that it is better to give than receive. I have received so much in the past 2 years, I hope I can give back half as much to the walkers and leaders in the Barrhead group. Though I am still climbing out of that black hole and always thinking of Winifred, with the help of my family and walkers around me, Ken and the staff at Bank Street, Barrhead this has become easier. And with a song in my heart, to put a spring in my step I will ‘Keep Right on to the End of the Road’.


© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh