27th Feb, 2021

Toast raised to celebrate 40 years of Shirley Walking Club

Sarah Mason 18th Jan, 2021 Updated: 19th Jan, 2021

CELEBRATIONS have been put on ice 40 years after a group of Shirley residents put their best foot forward.

Shirley Walking Club’s programme secretary, John Edwards, raised a toast and retraced the first eight-mile walk alone on the Ruby anniversary of Shirley Walking Club’s first walk last Friday, January 14.

In January 1981 Birmingham photographer John Whybrow led the ‘Wednesday Walking Club’ on its first ever ramble on a circuit from Langley Green to ‘The Foxhunter’ pub in Snitterfield and back via what is now The Monarch’s Way.

Forty years later, Covid-19 prevented the club from repeating the walk en masse but John says he intends to repeat club’s second walk based around Claverdon and the third walk around Snitterfield on the appropriate dates in the next two weeks.

And he hopes the group’s 40 members will be able to repeat these walks on Wednesdays sometime in summer, when better weather and vaccinations will hopefully have lifted the Covid restrictions.

The group was set up to help the out-of-work back into employment by offering enjoyment and a sense of worth and responsibility through walking: things John Whybrow hoped would be seen as positives in job interviews.

Every member had to lead up to three walks – something that is still an obligation today – although now there is a mix of employed and retired members too.

When normal walking resumes all will be welcome to meet with the group at Curry’s / PC World car park in Sears Retail Park at 9.30am on Wednesdays.

All walks are around seven to eight miles within a 25mile radius of Shirley and include a lunch halt at or near a pub, where refreshments and toilet facilities are available.

Stout footwear, wet weather gear, sandwiches and a flask for coffee stops are recommended.

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