The East Renfrewshire pair have given up every Monday morning since June 2019 to offer group walks with people affected by cancer.
I lead a walk once a week on a Monday morning at 10am. Our route which has been risk assessed, is kept to footpaths and level terrain to keep it as safe and interesting to the participants as possible.
Our walk commences outside the Broom Medical centre, which provides ample free parking and is on the local bus route. It ends with a cup of coffee and a chat in a local coffee shop. The walk is available throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas.
I find this volunteer role most rewarding as I get to help others doing something I love doing. Everyone in the group shares the same passion for fresh air and some exercise. We are a friendly, close-knit group, calling ourselves the ‘Sociable Senior Saunterers’. There is a real social aspect to the walk, and the word ‘Saunterers’ gives an indication that our walk is low impact.
I am delighted to have won the award and think it is only right to donate my prize money to Macmillan Cancer Support.
During lockdown the group has to be put on pause however both Karen and Marion continued to maintain contact with all their walkers by telephoning each person. The duo considered how their walks could be adapted, taking into account the needs of their walkers and that many will be apprehensive about the return to group walking.
Several years ago, I was going through a difficult time and I read that exercise, walking in particular is very good for you mentally. At that point, I started walking most days and this turned to running - I have now completed a half marathon. I just love getting outside and now have a complete new appreciation for the outdoors and I can see many in the walking group having this too.
As we began to ease out of lockdown, I was able to accompany one lady on her walk as she is completely on her own, her face lit up when I said I would walk with her again the following week. This was lovely to see.
It is amazing to see the achievement on the face of our slower walkers when they decide they are able to walk on the slightly longer walk. We always have a laugh on our walks and we have even went walking in torrential rain arriving into the coffee shop drenched but we had great fun and felt like we have achieved more that day – possibly just because it was a different experience.
It sounds a bit cliché but to someone who is considering getting into walking I would say, give it a go you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
To find out more about WALK ER's Health Walks in East Renfrewshire, visit our website.
To find out more about Cancer Friendly Walks visit our webpage.