On 31st March 2013 a group of HOOP UK Trustees, Ambassadors, Members and Supporters braved the biting wind to take part in the very first HOOP UK walk. Louise Foster-Spanner tells the story…
Henry was in charge of launching our balloons which heralded the start of our first HOOP UK walk. Having counted down from ten (which he had been practising all week) he yelled out ‘We have blast off launching HOOP UK! Release your balloons’. It was all very dramatic!
Twenty one of us, aged between 5 and 50 (I guessed that bit!) then set off from Saltburn Pier and we walked along the beach towards Marske which is a distance of about two and a quarter miles.
The weather was crisp, sunny and dry and walking towards Marske was lovely with the wind behind us propelling us along. My goodness it was cold! Many of us opted for the onion effect – many skins/ layers which could be peeled off or on as required.
Competitive rivalry reared its head between HOOP UK Ambassador Lee Veasey and Henry, with Henry touching the boat first, which signalled the half way point. Bets were laid down and the first one past the finish line was due a Lolly or ice- cream while the loser was footing the bill! It was tense.
The return journey however was something else! The wind which had propelled us along so helpfully on the outward leg became a biting, bone chilling mistral. Clothes were layered back on and hats donned! Some hardy (some would say ‘northern’ hardy) folk were wearing just shorts and tights and no coats! As the northern saying goes, they must been ‘fair nithered’.
I had several reports from the walkers that only defrosting in a bath seemed to warm them up several hours later. The walk lasted two and half hours with the finishing line of the pier being crossed. Henry got his lolly!
Several walkers told me that prior to losing some weight the furthest they had walked was round the supermarket and so some people had very sore hips, joints and knees. We all know the effect that being obese has on joints and several walkers told me that they would not have been able to participate in this stroll if they hadn’t already lost some weight. They also however said that they really enjoyed the friendship & camaraderie. That was evident from the beginning in this non-threatening and inclusive stroll we hoped would be the first of many.
HOOP UK Trustee