Monday, 21 June 2021

Walking group celebrates 20th anniversary with... a walk

HUNDREDS of people attended a party to mark the 20th anniversary of Sonning Common Health Walks.

HUNDREDS of people attended a party to mark the 20th anniversary of Sonning Common Health Walks.

The celebration began with a walk along the route of one of the group’s first ever walks.

Almost 100 people walked from the village hall, through Peppard and Spring Wood before returning to the village hall.

A separate group of about 30 less able walkers completed a one-and-a-half mile flat walk in Sonning Common.

At the party speeches were given by Dr William Bird, who established the group when he was a GP at Sonning Common health centre to encourage older people to keep fit, and fitness instructor Val Lunn, who helped him and still takes part in some walks.

Mrs Lunn 64, of Churchill Crescent, Sonning Common, also led the longer walk beforehand.

She said: “We walked up the valley and then down the other side. That was one of the original walks when we started in 1996. The weather was kind to us.”

She thanked the volunteer walk leaders, saying: “Without them we would never have been successful. The leaders are amazing with the hours they contribute, not just walking but also organising socials, holidays and dinners.

“Two from the beginning are still helping and without people like that it never would have happened.”

The guests were served sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee and there was a cake baked especially for the occasion with icing depicting scenes of the Chiltern hills.

David Birtwistle, chairman of the group, said: “The event went really well and we were blessed with excellent weather. 

“We had approximately 140 walkers, which was quite amazing as we had estimated 60.

“A large number of former walkers came along and many walked the short course and chatted to old friends.

“We set up a ‘loop’ photo display of walks going back 20 years and of our trips further afield.

“Afternoon tea went down a treat and we had toasts with prosecco. A faultless day.”

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