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Stepping Out: Walks for Carers

The White Cliffs Festival Carer’s Walk: Kingsdown to Deal: 25 August 2017

They came from all over. Folkestone, Sheppey, Ashford, Sittingbourne, Whitstable, the University of Kent, a film crew from London, the head of Ramblers GB and Bernard from Saltwood.  It was the most ambitious walk so far of the Stepping Out series, scenic, sociable strolls/treks designed to improve the health – and just the day – of Kent carers and those they care for.  Ambitious because it was the longest linear walk yet, nearly three miles along a beautiful piece of coastline, a big ask for many but astutely located between pubs.

The sun shone, the crew's drone camera droned and Bernard, the caring cockapoo, lapped up the attention, while winding his lead inexorably round any number of path-side bushes.

The good news: everybody made it to the end.  Some via the the merciful ministrations of Jason, the shuttle bus driver, but after a very decent walk nonetheless.  A large number of personal bests were achieved, definitely in the cases of the Whitstable contingent, Chris, John, Heather and Pete, who not only walked and wheeled all the way to the Deal but all the way back again to Kingsdown.

The ARRCC gang, led magnificently by Sandra, romped to the finish line and a breakaway movement led by Helena that was supposed to stop halfway was also wilfully inspired to walk the full distance.

Joy and Tony, from Sittingbourne, were celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary and part of the festivities apparently included Tony test driving Bill’s wheelchair.  It was Tony’s first outing with the group and, with kind permission from them both, we reprint a note from Joy after the event:

"We had such a lovely time. Tony really enjoyed it and I was pleased that I made him come. We could not have wished for a better way of spending our anniversary.  We were surrounded by friends – new ones many of them as Tony only knew Lesley, Maureen and Ron before coming that day –  but he hasn't stopped saying how lovely it was and how he enjoyed talking to others on the walk especially Bill.  He is looking forward to coming again I just wish he had come before as he enjoyed it so much."

Vanessa Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Ramblers, commented:

"I was expecting the walk and the sparkling sea, but not the moving stories, beautiful singing, and the ice cream stop just at the right moment... "

Any carers and those they care for wishing to join the final two walks of the series at Herne Bay (Friday 29th September) and Aylesford Priory (Friday 27th October), please contact: Brenda at 07500 178033 or 07836 283566. (Please give details of any transport requirements if it is difficult for you to get to the start line.)

For further details:

With huge thanks to

  • Brenda Courtney
  • ARRCC –  a dynamic charity providing care and opportunities for adults with physical and/or sensory impairments, learning disabilities and those living with Dementia
  • Kent Ramblers
  • White Cliffs Ramblers
  • Vanessa Griffiths, Ramblers GB
  • Carers Support Ashford
  • Carers Support Deal
  • Sport England

for their continued and wonderful support.