A Huddersfield walking group is to feature on a national BBC programme.
We In Front draws most of its membership from the town’s West Indian community and will be featured on BBC Radio 4 programme Ramblings which stars popular presenter Clare Balding joining notable and interesting people for a walk through the countryside.
The 30-minute show featuring a walk to the top of Huddersfield’s Castle Hill will be broadcast on Thursday, February 15 at 3pm.
The group’s mantra is to explore the local landscape while encouraging health, wellbeing and laughter.
Eighteen members of the group joined Clare for the brisk three-hour jaunt along muddy tracks and bridleways on one of the few dry days of this winter and finished off with a West Indian-style picnic and a calypso sing-song.
We In Front began life in 2020 in the depths of the Covid lockdown.
Errol Hamlet, 69, of Lowerhouses, was bored and frustrated but inspired to see a neighbour taking advantage of her 60 minutes outdoors with vigorous walking. He’d never seen the point of walking for its own sake before but once he started he felt like he didn’t want to stop.
He was soon attracting the attention of fellow West Indian friends and, as lockdown eased, Errol found he had a team of hiking converts around him. They walked and walked, often going astray as they plunged off-road into the fields and thickets around Huddersfield.
But they figured that as long as they stayed within sight of Castle Hill they’d never get completely lost.
Since then they’ve grown to a membership of over 30 and walk four times a week. The routes range from flat rambles to scaling the most rugged terrain in the Pennines so people of all abilities can take part.
They reckon they are probably the most active group of West Indian pensioners walking anywhere in the UK and, while still drawing most of its membership from the Windrush Generation, the group includes walkers of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Errol said: “I used to have severe joint problems and could barely get down the street. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself but since I took up regular walking in this atmosphere of laughter and music I’ve felt like I’m born again. It was lovely to host Clare Balding and a great endorsement of what we’ve achieved.”
Group secretary Cynthia Matheson added: “I’ve lived in Huddersfield all my life but it’s only since I joined We In Front that I’ve realised what a lovely area we live in. It’s given me the confidence to explore the countryside around us and now every time we go out it’s like a new adventure.”
Clare Balding told Errol: “I loved being part of your group. I’m quite jealous because you go out walking so much. But next time I’m in the area I’ll know you’ll be out there so I’ll come and find you.”
We In Front is also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/weinfronthudds
If the Ramblings episode inspires any listener to take up hiking, We In Front welcomes newcomers of all backgrounds and abilities. To join the group email email@example.com
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.