National recognition for Pendle walk leader

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Pendle Leisure Trust’s Out and About scheme (formerly Let’s Walk) has received two awards from Natural England’s Walking for Health project.

The local initiative has held onto its accredited status for the third year running, having successfully demonstrated that it meets the required criteria.

As an accredited scheme, Out and About will now be seen as part of a national strategy, as well as being formally recognised by health professionals, prospective partners and funders.

William Bird, Strategic Health Advisor for Natural England, said: “The accredited scheme has been essential in ensuring high standards and providing frontline health professionals with added confidence when referring their patients.

“It’s really good the Out and About project has managed to retain its accreditation, as it shows high standards are being met year after year.”

Walking for Health has also awarded long-standing volunteer walk leader Ron Whalley with an award for exceptional service. Ron beat off competition from hundreds of other volunteer walk leaders from all over the country to take the award.

Ron has been a volunteer for Pendle Leisure Trust’s Out and About project since it was first set up and to date has led over 500 walks.

Ron leads the Thursday “leg stretchers”, which is one of the most popular walks. When funding for the full-time co-ordinator ceased in 2006, Ron - along with a small group of volunteers - kept the project going by producing leaflets, leading and covering walks, attending meetings and travelling out of the borough to distribute promotional material.

Ron has also helped Lancashire County Council to plan walks in Pendle and has delivered a navigational course for local walkers – all voluntary!

Wayne Bowman, the Trust’s Out and About Co-ordinator, said: “Ron fully deserves this award after all his years of hard work promoting walking in Pendle.

“This recognition, along with our continued accreditation, shows how much dedication all of our volunteers have to make this project a success.

“The Out and About project runs a wide variety of walks and cycle rides in Pendle and anyone is welcome to join us. We have walks which range from 30 minutes upwards, led by dedicated volunteers and we have recently started Nordic walking and longer rambles.

“People can also join us for a bike ride. We cater for people who can’t ride, right through to those who want to ride in a friendly social group.”

For more information on any of the guided walks and rides, contact Wayne Bowman on 661315 or email wayne.bowman@pendleleisuretrust.co.uk