Borders walking volunteer wins national award

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A volunteer with the Scottish Borders Walking for Health project, Walk It, has scooped a national award for his work.

Peter Handley, who leads the Friday Walk It group in Kelso, was awarded the 2015 Paths for All Health Walk Volunteer of the Year Award at a ceremony at the Scottish Parliament.

The Walk It project provides free health walks across the Borders and is jointly managed by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders.

Peter has been a volunteer with the project for almost a decade, and was one of the original group of walk leaders.

Project co-ordinator Denise Carmichael said: “Peter is an amazing volunteer, professional and dedicated, and he has given many years of his time to the project and runs his walk every Friday from The Square in Kelso.

“Peter’s passion for walking and the benefits it provides to members of the local community is evident and I am delighted that he has been recognised at a national level for his exceptional commitment.”

The 23 Walk It walks cover all the main Borders towns and many smaller settlements and the number of walk leaders has grown from six to 72.

The number of people attending the groups has also increased dramatically over the years, and the ‘Walk It Further’ series has been developed to allow people to progress to more challenging walks.

Kevan Sanderson, health improvement lead at NHS Borders, said: “This award is a fantastic achievement for Peter and well deserved for the hard work he has given to the project over the last 10 years.”

The Earlston Paths Group was also recognised for their decade of work with the Community Path Volunteer of the Year Award.