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  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

Walkin’ Back To Happiness With Clare Balding!

Huddersfield-based walking group “We In Front” is to be the subject of a forthcoming BBC Radio 4 programme.

A fixture of the Radio 4 schedule, “Ramblings” 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 at 3.00 on Thursday 15 February.

18 members of the group joined Clare for the brisk 3 hour jaunt along muddy tracks and bridleways, on one of the few dry days of this Winter. They were rewarded at the top with a bracing breeze and panoramic views of West Yorkshire. They finished off with a West Indian style picnic and a calypso sing-song by some of the many musicians who make up We In Front.

We In Front began life in 2020 in the depths of the Covid Lockdown. Lowerhouses resident Errol Hamlet (69) was bored and frustrated but was inspired to see a neighbour taking advantage of her 60 minutes outdoors with vigorous walking. He’d never before seen the point of walking for its own sake, but once he started he felt like he didn’t want to stop.

Soon he was 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 could never get completely lost.

Since then they’ve grown to a membership of over thirty, and they walk 4 times a week, catering for people of all abilities from flat rambles to scaling the most rugged terrain in the Pennines. They reckon they are probably the most active group of West Indian pensioners walking anywhere in the UK. Whilst still drawing most of its membership from the Windrush Generation, the group includes walkers of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Says Errol Hamlet:

“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.”

Before leaving Clare Balding said to 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.”


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