Posted: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 13:41
Olive (89) and Norma (78), started leading walks over 20 years ago as "walks for women" sessions, which later evolved into a Walking for Health group when Doncaster first became accredited as part of the Ramblers National Walking for Health scheme.
The Thorne Health Walk is the longest running health walk in the Borough and is still attended each week by up to 25 people from the surrounding area to meet up with old friends and welcome new faces to join them.
"I've been coming for 10 years, lots of us are on our own and lots have lost their partners. When you get old it's easy to just sit in and not speak to anybody, but this group keep us going and gives us a chance to put the world to rights as we walk"
Speaking with Hilary, 70, we heard how the walks had helped her get to know the area and support her to stay busy after recently retiring.
"I worked full time right up to turning 70, so when I moved to Thorne and retired I needed a way to keep busy. I started walking to the shop every day just to see people and say hi, or borrowing 1 book at a time from the library to make me get up and get out when I needed another, but then my neighbours daughter told me about the health walks so I gave it a go and I've been coming ever since."
Hilary also told us about how the health walks had helped her to manage her own pain and health condition, making her more determined to keep moving for as long as she could.
"I was worried at first I wouldn't keep up and they'd all wonder who the old one was with the dodgy knee, but the pace is perfect and I can manage this. Some days I hurt just walking down the street, and don't get me wrong, I'm tired after this, but the pain isn't half as bad. I'd rather keep moving as long as I can than have to have somebody poking about and needing a new knee, I'm not ready to give up"
This inspiring attitude of not giving up was echoed by all of the group and in particular by their leader Olive
"None of them believe my age when I tell them! Walking keeps me young so I'll walk with the group as long as I can, we're friends more than anything, yes we walk and like being out, but we also go for Christmas dinners and it's about being there for each other"
The group meet at the Delves Café in Thorne every Tuesday at 2pm. The walks are free for anybody to attend and the group are always happy to see new faces. All you need to bring is a pair of shoes with good grip because some of the routes can be muddy.
To find out more about this walk and our other Health Walks across the Borough, check out our events page