Three members of the same walking group have won awards for encouraging people to take up physical activity.

Every year Halton Borough Council acknowledges a volunteer with its Get Active forums awards evening

This year John Timms, aged 76, from Runcorn, a volunteer health walk leader at Wednesday Health Walking Group, won the volunteer of the year accolade.

Colleagues said he not only organises the activity but goes the extra mile outside of the activity. He is has recently presented a slot on the local hospital radio show to promote the health benefits of walking and encourages others to join in.

His colleague, volunteer health walk leader Derek Gates, age, 65 from Runcorn, won this award in 2016 and another John O Hara Mee age 81from Runcorn in 2014.

John Timms is said to have just the right personality for mixing with and motivating other people. He has a sympathetic ear and an understanding approach to other people who have experienced difficult periods in their lives following nursing and losing a loved one.

As a volunteer he can always be relied upon to be available to support other people improve their health and wellbeing. He took time out to get qualified as a walk leader and now gives many hours each week to lead health walks.

More recently John and Derek have helped Murdishaw Health Centre put into practice a GP health walk referral scheme along with Paula Parle from Halton Borough Council.

They happily spent time assessing suitable walk routes to assist launch the scheme and now leads walks for patients and takes time to sit and have a ‘cuppa and chat’ with patients in the health centre.

As a volunteer John is dedicated to bringing pleasure to other people’s lives and improving their health and wellbeing.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Sport, Cllr Phil Harris, said: “Sport needs these un-sung heroes who encourage by their needs and example. I am glad we are able to recognise the work they do.”

Volunteer of the Year 2016; Derek Gates from the Wednesday walking group also spends many hours researching walks for the walkers allowing the Wednesday Walking group a selection of 17 different walking routes.

People say the Derek has just the right personality for mixing with people and making new comers feel welcome.

Volunteer of the Year 2014, John O Hara – Mee from Wednesday Health Walks Group,purchased hand held radios in order that walk leaders could keep in touch to ensure all is well on their walks which often accommodate over 20 walkers and spread out a little bit with different walking speeds.

John’s commitment is greatly appreciated by the whole group; he spends time researching interesting local history etc and collates the information on hand-outs for the walkers.

John encourages feedback from the group and is a great advocate for the health benefits of physical activity always talking to people during the activity and even people passing by.

Paula Parle, Halton Borough Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Development Officer, said: “It’s lovely to see all three Walk Leaders from the same group each receive an award over the years, they all equally deserve them”

Walking & Cycling for health