The 4 Rotary Clubs of Southport
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The walk4charity 2012 - Sunday 29th April

The 10th Annual Charity Walk

For the 2012 Walk, we felt that a change would be almost (!) as good as a rest, so a completely new course was planned. This started and finished at Lydiate Parish Hall, passed along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal before moving across country on the Cheshire Lines Path - two of the most iconic local walking routes!

Months of planning and preparation went into the walk, ensuring that as far as possible, our walkers would be safe and well looked after. The one thing which we couldn’t control was the weather. Oh dear!

It wouldn’t really have made any difference. If the walk had been either twelve hours earlier, or twelve hours later, we wouldn’t have had the problems we did with wind and rain, not to say tempest. Dry, calm and perfectly acceptable was the story both before and after. Oh, well, such is the way of things.

Lydiate Parish Hall proved, in many ways, to be a nearly ideal centre for the walk. Convenient access by road and public transport, provided with more than sufficient car parking in the field at the back; pleasing, more-or-less waterproof interior (!) with a generous supply of facilities and fixtures. The key was handed over on the Saturday evening, at six pm, and instructions duly given as to how to open and close everything. The opportunity was taken to arrange and set out the tables and chairs, which took some of the pressure off the early hours of Sunday morning.

Believe it or not, first thing Sunday morning was actually quite reasonable, giving cause for hope that the weather forecast was as accurate as usual. Unfortunately the weather forecast was accurate, and the first spots of rain began about eight am. From there on, there was only one direction; as it said on the walk signs: THIS WAY. Trouble is that the arrows were pointing downwards. First the rain, then the wind.

Our stewards began to arrive, the tickets were checked, forms ready stacked, floats issued, and our friends from Inner Wheel soon had the coffee and cakes on the go. The Chief Steward was seen, briefly, moving here and there at warp speed, checking that the signage was OK, that the Stewards were OK and that everything was as OK as it could be. Within the Parish Hall, the Walk Organiser put his years of sales and marketing experience to good use, convincing the walkers that they would, really, have a most enjoyable time.

The first walker started at 9.48am - Rotarian Terry Keefe had only decided the day before that he would do the walk, but like a good’un had not been put off by climatic calamity. He was followed shortly afterwards by the first of the walk groups. This year, for the first time, our partners Active Sefton had provided a number of Walk Leaders, who set off at fifteen to twenty minute intervals with any walkers who wanted to go collective!

And then, of course, conditions deteriorated. By mid-day, the decision had been made to close the longer section of the walk, and route all the walkers back along the short cut. Back at the Hall, groups of soggy, sodden folk began to arrive. There was a rush for the radiators, to warm up and dry out. But there was no sense of defeat, or dejection. Instead there was a tangible spirit of camaraderie among those who had returned,; that something worthwhile had been done against all the odds. There seemed no doubt it was an echo of the spirit of Dunkirk sounding down the decades.

And believe it, or believe it not, this walk, with all its trials and tribulations, drew half as many walkers again as our last walk around the lake and raised more than £11,000 for a range of charities and good causes. As our Walk Organiser remarked, given good conditions who knows what we might have achieved?

But now we are all back safely, dried off and warm, why not sit back for a few minutes and watch our slide show. If you were there on the day, remember! If you weren’t there on the day, marvel!

To go directly to the slide show without reading the script!



Many, many thanks are due to everyone who took part. To those who stayed warm and dry inside, to those who got cold and wet outside, but mostly to everyone who walked. You did well. Very well.

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