This award recognises inspirational volunteers, or group of volunteers, who have helped other people to put one foot in front of the other. Whether they are taking their first steps or are a seasoned walker this award recognises that volunteer who encouraged, supported and inspired them to get out and get active.
Glasgow Young Walkers were struggling to attract new people a year ago. But in the past 12 months, they've managed to double their membership. As chair of the group, Bekah's energy has helped turn things around.
“I get a big kick out of people discovering something new or having an adventure," she says.
Events, social media and weekends away have all played a part in reaching new members – but, at the heart of it all is a varied walk programme that offers something for everyone.
“We do long walks and short walks, sunrise walks and night walks,” says Bekah. “It means people can find a walk that fits into their life … plus, hills take on a different character in the evening or first thing in the morning.”
And while most people in the group are in their late twenties and early thirties, there’s room for everyone. “You’re as old as you feel, or as young as you feel,” says Bekah, “if you want to walk with us and you feel at home with us, you’re a young walker.”
When the local vicar asked Tom and Rita to lead five walks as part of the NHS Walk for your Heart campaign, they had no idea they would still be doing it as part of their Ramblers group, every fortnight, seventeen years later.
One member of their group worked out that, over that time, they’ve racked up the equivalent mileage for a return trip from John O’Groats to Land’s End – with some left over.
Tom and Rita are incredibly humble recipients of their award – claiming, “there’s a slightly selfish element in it – it gets us out walking and exercising. You know how it is, if you don’t have to go out or the weather isn’t very good, you don’t bother. But if we have that commitment every fortnight, we’ve got to turn out. One of us anyway!”
But its means so much to members of the local community – and as one put it, Tom and Rita have provided “years of fine walks and fond memories.”