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I understand that there is another important event happening tonight ???

So firstly I would like to thank you all for being here. Tonight is always about YOU – a celebration of all that you have achieved, both individually and collectively as our brilliant club, Nordic Walking Watford.

Every year I make a video called Nordic Walking Watford Unwrapped – it’s a collection of our best bits – and I release it the night before our Christmas Social. This year when I was putting that video together, I looked back through all those special moments, captured by our walk leaders and my heart literally swells with pride and joy for all that we achieve. My children however are not impressed that you occupy significantly more of my photo feed than they do!

It’s been a year when we could at last return to some normality with our activities and our programme was, as ever, action-packed. And it was also – in case you missed the email – our Anniversary year. 10 years of Nordic Walking Watford and in these difficult times, something to really celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a challenge?


Our challenge created some wonderful opportunities to try new things – and so our FULL MOON WALKS appeared on our programme, along with our THREE RIVERS CHALLENGE event and a fabulous array of special interest walks.


From brewery tours to local history walks, a hare Krishna temple to a canal festival from bluebells to tulips, frosty mornings to the summer solstice, Halloween afternoon tea to fantastic fireworks, and from Remembrance Day to Christmas lights. We had our first Nordic Walking Watford weekend retreat and our Armchair to Active course is a welcome and inclusive addition to our training programme I’m delighted that NWUK have taken the concept on board and will be launching the course nationally very soon.


And so here we are at the end of an amazing year, truly grateful to be together and celebrating Nordic Walking Watford.


We are very much a team effort and there are some very special people I would like to thank tonight. I may be the Gareth Southgate of team Nordic Walking Watford but we are nothing without our key players.


Jackie our “centre back” – Jackie continues to provide our virtual Yoga sessions which are a really wonderful addition to our programme and enables friends from different places in the country to stay in contact with us. Thank you Jackie.


Our  “midfielders” – Ann, Fiona, Caroline, Kallie, Jo, Catherine, Liz, Lyn, Heather, Alison, Lesley, Tina and Laura thank you for your commitment, your support, your loyalty and above all your passion for Nordic Walking and Nordic Walking Watford. Without you, we couldn’t offer the range of fabulous walks we do. These amazing people continue to embrace and represent the very essence of our group and they commit 100% to keep you all safe and encouraging participation in our activities. So from the bottom of my heart, the walk leader team– THANK YOU.


Cathryn – our “goalkeeper” –  as I move more and more into course delivery, much of the responsibility for the day-to-day running of NWW falls to this amazing lady. Cathryn keeps us all on track,and I am so very grateful to have her on board. I believe our organisational processes are second to none in the Nordic walking world and that is down to her attention to detail and determination to give 100%.   Cathryn thank you so much for your commitment and dedication to everything behind the scenes.


Last but certainly not least “striker” Gary. I described Gary last year as our “new instructor” but it now feels like he has always been here. From leading walks to delivering courses and tasters, Gary takes on every challenge I give him with enthusiasm and compassion. Thanks to Gary, we have this year been able to secure more external contracts than ever before and having the two of us working together, ensures efficiency and enhances the content of what we can offer. Gary – thank you so much x


And so I give the Nordic Walking Watford SQUAD!


As we move into 2023 we are now offering 20 walks per week and we have around 100 walkers out with us each month.

It is fantastic that so many of you are getting out and enjoying all the benefits of Nordic walking – and of course that includes the mental as well as the physical benefits… we absolutely love to hear of your personal achievements so please make sure you let me know, as well as any goals you may have for the coming year. Next year will bring a new challenge too, and each month I will set a goal for you to focus on and work towards.


Before we move on to our individual awards, I would just like to say – as I always do – how proud I am of ALL of YOU! Whether you walk 50 miles or 2 miles, whether you walk 3 times a week or once a month, whether you crack a 15 min /mile or a 25 min/mile. You are out there Nordic Walking, and I will always always be your biggest advocate.


Announcing Nordic Walkers of the Month for 2022:

Every month we celebrate those of you who have walked the most and so our monthly winners in 2023 were:










So Well done to our Nordic Walkers of the Month.






So what are the chances of two people competing for the top spot with the same number of walks – which by the way was a massive 144 walks!

Our Nordic Walkers of the year are JEANETTE REECE AND PETER WOODS


This is our last Nordic Walker of the year award as we move in to 2023 and a different award scheme.

Let me introduce NORDIC WALKING WATFORD COLOURS – a collection of ribbons which will acknowledge and reward the number of walks each member achieves with targets of 25, 50, 100, 200, 350, 500 and 1000 walks. Let’s lay down the gauntlet – who will reach 1000 first? I might be retired by then!



Candidates for the next few awards are decided by the walk leaders and I. It is always a very difficult choice because we have so much potential within this group. And This year it was suggested that we not only announce the winner of each category but the list of nominees too.


First Up is Most Improved Nordic Walker: Our most improved category encompasses the technical aspects of Nordic Walking and improvements demonstrated in all areas including pace and distance.


Our nominations in this category were:

  • Chistine Gardner
  • Liz Defries
  • Charmian Males
  • Gill Rosser


And the winner is someone who battles hard against ill health, but always smiles and shows a quiet but fierce determination to improve: CHARMIAN MALES


Next up is our new Category – Spirit of Nordic Walking Watford

This category encompasses the very ethos of Nordic Walking Watford and what it represents, and is awarded for qualities such as attitude, enthusiasm, inclusion, kindness, determination and commitment.


Our nominees in this category are:

  • Yvonne O’Connor
  • Tim Smith
  • Victoria Milford
  • Margaret Beaman


And the winner is someone who shows remarkable kindness, compassion and generosity to fellow walkers, welcoming new people into our fold and championing our very ethos: TIM SMITH



And lastly, for one year only our – Anniversary Challenger of the Year – destined for someone who has truly embraced the challenge year at Nordic Walking Watford


The nominees in this category are:

  • Hayley Sinclair
  • Pearl Tincknell
  • Bob Wiggins
  • Angela Churchman


And the winner is someone who summed up perfectly what our challenge was about:

And I quote “ The best thing about the challenges you set is how much I have enjoyed achieving them and how I now think differently about my approach to Nordic Walking in general. I have realised that I had a lot of ‘cant’s’ and ‘dont’s’ :

  • I don’t walk at the weekend.
  • I don’t walk in the evening.
  • I don’t like getting up earlier to walk.
  • I can’t fit in a walk or a challenge when I’m busy.
  • I can’t walk at a faster pace.


I’ve learnt that I can do all of these and enjoy them! 

I have met new walkers and made new friends.

And I will continue to step out of my comfort zone as it has been physically and mentally beneficial in every way”


I give you our challenger of the year – HAYLEY SINCLAIR





Our chosen charity for the last year has been PAPYRUS – prevention of suicide in the young. Inspired by the heartbreaking story of 3dads walking, we have supported through them the year with our Car Boot Cafes and Challenge Events.

It would be nice to live in a world where this charity was not needed. But as long as suicide remains the main cause of death for people under the age of 35 then this charity is essential and it has been an honour to support them.


The total will absolutely blow you away – thank you Nordic Walking Watford – we have raised £3,523!!!!


That brings us nicely to our charity for 2023.

As previously we put together a shortlist of charities and put it to you, our members, to decide who you wished to support next year. Always a difficult choice – as every charity is deserving of support and recognition.


However, the charity we will be supporting in 2023 is The Willow Foundation.


Dedicated to bringing special days and treats to the seriously ill who are between the ages 16 and 40 years of age and live in the United Kingdom.

Willow say : For people living with a life-threatening illness, every day should be precious. The pressures of diagnosis, treatment and recovery can have a devastating effect on work and family life.

Willow aims to redress the balance: providing unique and unforgettable moments and experiences tailored to each individual. Since they were founded in 1999, Willow has supported over 19,000 serious ill young adults. We look forward to supporting and working with the Willow foundation 2023.


And so to finish, I hope you have all had a fabulous evening and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2023. Go and sparkle!






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