THE leader of health walks in Dunfermline and Inverkeithing has been recognised for her successful efforts to get Bums off Seats.

Claire Henderson has doubled the size and frequency of Fife's evening walking groups and was named Health Walk Volunteer of the Year by Scotland's walking charity, Paths for All, at its 2023 awards.

She has been leading Bums Off Seats health walks since 2021 and started a second weekly meet in January of this year.

An average of 20 people attend each session and also regularly meet for social outings.

Claire said: "I was taken aback when I found out I won the award, I’m just so delighted that our amazing walkers enjoy walking and chatting as much as the walk leaders do.

"I started walking with Bums Off Seats in 2021 which inspired me to do my walk leader training and to start the Tuesday evening walking group.

"I wanted to make sure that there were days suitable for everyone, making the health walks more accessible to all members of our community."

Bums off Seats facilitates 17 weekly walks across Fife and is focused on the health and social benefits of going out for a stroll.

Dunfermline Press: Claire leads evening walks in Inverkeithing and Dunfermline. Claire leads evening walks in Inverkeithing and Dunfermline. (Image: Paths for All)

Claire continued: "I can’t believe I’ve only been walking with the group for two years, the friendships that have been formed and the people I’ve met have really made this experience so worthwhile.

"When we’re out on our walks, we’re chatting non-stop, for a number of our walkers, this might be their only social interaction of the week.

“We really do feel like a family, and we all support and encourage each other along the way.

"There’s never a dull moment when we are together!

"The group would not be as amazing as it is, without all the wonderful walk leaders that have joined me along the way.

"We now have six qualified leaders and a list of people that would like to become certified and help the community just like we do."

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Claire's group, named The Right Step, meet on Tuesday evenings in Inverkeithing and on Thursday evenings in Dunfermline.

It is a branch of Bums Off Seats, a walking initiative created by Fife Council, Active Fife and Paths for All.

Darren Wyn Jones, active communities team manager at Fife Council, said: "Claire's commitment and passion to get her local community active through the Bums Off Seats project is fully deserving of this achievement and recognition.

"Claire is a beacon for the project across the Kingdom.

"It is also recognition of the hard work of the active communities team and project lead, Lauren Stoddart, and the communities who are joining Claire, and all our other wonderful volunteers, in taking a step towards living an active and healthy life."

Claire was celebrated at Paths for All’s 14th annual awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on September 27.

Hosted by the BBC Scotland's Fiona Stalker, with awards presented by sponsoring MSP, former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the event recognised 10 groups and individuals throughout Scotland who have gone the extra mile to keep their communities active.

Dunfermline Press: Around 20 people attend each session. Around 20 people attend each session. (Image: Paths for All)

Maree Todd, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, said: "Supporting people in Scotland to walk and wheel is a key part of our vision of a country where more people are more active, more often.

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"A huge number of highly motivated and skilled people are helping us deliver this vision, especially the passionate volunteers who do so much to help others overcome challenges to participation and facilitate activities across the country.

"They really are inspirational, the recognition from Paths for All in these awards is very well deserved."