Recognition has been given to dedicated volunteers who encourage people to stay healthy by taking part in regular walks, including a number in the Sleaford area.
There are more than 60 regular volunteer-run health walks co-ordinated and supported by Lincolnshire Co-op across the county, which all come under the national Ramblers Walking for Health scheme.
During a recent celebration event at Woodland Waters in Ancaster, eight of the volunteers who help lead the walks were presented with honours.
n Shirley Thompson, who has been part of the Sleaford group since it began more than 10 years ago, and has been walking weekly with it ever since, while also encouraging others to become members
n Sheila Grossmith, who has been involved with the Heckington group since it started six years ago and during that time has developed more than 20 local walks.
Receiving a special recognition award at the event was Ancaster walk leader Jan Barratt. Jan is a founder member of the Ancaster health walk group, which started 10 years ago, and regularly leads walks three to four times a week.
In addition, as there is not a café in the area, she hosts the group at her house for tea and refreshments after the walk.
She said: “It’s always nice to be recognised with the award, even if it is a bit embarrassing.
“The walks are very beneficial for people, and I know from my own experience that I feel much healthier since starting. I think it’s more about the social side too, as a lot of the walkers in my age bracket can find themselves in a lonely place if family have passed away.
“Being on walks it gets you out of the house, you speak to like-minded people and build friendships.”
Lincolnshire Co-op supports health walks in Lincoln, South Kesteven, and East Lindsey, alongside other agencies such as Greenwich Leisure and 1Life, and helps bring together a network of walks across the county.
Chief executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “It’s inspiring to meet our volunteer walk leaders and we’re immensely proud of them. We want to say thank you for their dedication and enthusiasm in leading groups and supporting others.
“Winners were put forward by fellow volunteer leaders and walkers and we were impressed with some of the nominations that came in. Amongst many attributes, they were praised for their commitment, friendliness, encouragement and endless kindness.”
For more information, visit www.lincolnshire.coop/community/health-walks