On Friday 14th July 2023, nearly 90 people gathered in the Orchard of Hughenden Manor to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the popular Simply Walk initiative.
Simply Walk is a health walks scheme run by Buckinghamshire Council which encourages people of all ages and abilities to take part in regular walks across the county. There are currently more than 65 walks, most of which take place weekly, with over 2,000 people regularly taking part and more than 250 volunteers. It is free to join (although donations are welcome) and no need to book.
Every walk is led by a trained volunteer leader and back marker to ensure no-one gets left behind.
On the day, guests were invited to participate in a choice of walks in the grounds of the National Trust property, followed by cutting of a celebratory cake and a thank you speech from the Chairman of Buckinghamshire Council, Patricia Birchley. This was followed by a picnic in the Orchard, with music provided by the volunteer bellringers from the ‘Friends of Langley Park’. Other guests in attendance included Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure and Zahir Mohammed, Deputy Cabinet Member for Public Health.
Patricia Birchley, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘It has been wonderful to meet so many of the people who make our Simply Walk scheme what it is. The dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers is essential to the success of Simply Walk and without them, Simply Walk would not exist, so I would like to say a huge thank you to them all.‘
Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Simply Walk provides so much more than a physical activity. Over the years it has developed into a huge family, providing a warm welcome, friendship and support for so many, particularly during and since the pandemic. Some volunteers and walkers have been involved in the scheme since the beginning, 21 years ago, a huge achievement.‘
Many walkers say it has helped them to be more active, make new friends and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation.
New volunteers are always needed to help the Simply Walk scheme to grow and thrive. Further information about becoming a volunteer and a full list of all the walks that take place in Buckinghamshire can be found on the Buckinghamshire Council website at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/simply-walk.
*Source of information : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.