Sunday, 4 December 2011

Our first charity night

We have been getting the miles in, training is going well, we are frequenting the gym and our fitness levels are increasing, what we started out to achieve seems to be working.

The Yorkshire Follies moto is Training Together Changing Lives.  We are training together and we are certainly changing our lives, we now need to help change other peoples lives!

Around October/November for the last 2 years I've held a charity concert in memory of my Dad.

To be honest my heart just wasn't into organising a night this year.  Injury, personal circumstances, work and everything else in between seemed to be taking up my energy, time and motivation.  Katy was down one weekend keeping me company whilst Ray was away and she sat me down and helped me to organise what was very quickly becoming a reality with a fantastic line up with some great acts with some superb raffle and auction prizes from friends and sponsors who help out every year. WLR, Mona, Tarcani, Stagestruk, Hair by Shareen, Pure Fitness, David Lloyd, Becks driving school to name but a few. 

It seemed only natural that I should change the evening to a Follies Fundraiser and once again with the help of Katy and the Follies my heart was beating and thriving again for everyone to have a fantastic evening and raise money and awareness.

My brother John owns and his help with the Yorkshire Follies with logos and web page building has been invaluable so I contacted him about posters, it wasn't long before he was emailing me posters and tickets back that we could rearrange and print in house.

The event came round before we knew it.  The Follies went into Willows Club first thing in the morning to set up the sound system and decorate the room and it looked absolutely fantastic. 

All we had to do was go home, get ready and come back to enjoy a night of entertainment and fun. Easier said than done!!  I had learnt a new song for the night and changed the words to the song to incorporate the Yorkshire Follies and our WTW challenge, my nerves were wrecked I was shaking like a leaf and most of the Follies had never even heard me sing before!

I opened up the evening with Dance with my Father dedicated of course to my wonderful Dad, I couldn't look at the girls and I certainly couldn't look at my mum.  They have seen and helped me through my pain so I knew the words would get to them as much as they have me on many occasions. 

It was time for my new song. Bruno Mars' song 'Marry Me' with a twist because it had been re-written and re-named:-

'Walk with you'

It's a beautiful night, we're looking for something dumb to do
Hey Follies, I think I wanna walk with you
Is it that look in your eyes or is it your training shoes
Hey Follies, I think I wanna walk with you.

Well I know I few streets in the capital we can go
Everyone will know, well come on girls
Our legs are all trashed got a belly full of laughs with a long way to go
Bras that will glow, so get on girls.

Don't say no no no no no
Just say yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
And we'll go go go go go
If you're ready like I'm ready

It's a beautiful night, we're looking for something dumb to do
Hey Follies, I think I wanna walk with you
Is it that look in your eyes or is it your training shoes
Hey Follies, I think I wanna walk with you.

What should we bring or should we walk and sing like ooaooaoo
Rock and roll, don't run girls
Walking for miles but we're all full of smiles
with the finish line in sight, it's a really long night, so come on girls

Don't say no no no no no
You said yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
So we'll go go go go go
are you're ready yes we're ready

It's a beautiful night, we're looking for something dumb to do
Hey Follies, I think I wanna walk with you
Is it that look in your eyes or is it your training shoes
Hey Follies, I think I wanna walk with you.

Just say I do, tell me right now follies tell me right now
Just say I do, tell me right now Follies

It's a beautiful night, we've found something dumb to do
Hey Follies, I know I'm gonna walk with you
It's that smile in our eyes we've got on our training shoes
Hey Follies, I know I'm gonna walk with you.

The girls loved it and so did everyone else and we've not stopped singing it since!  I can see the streets of London being filled with the Follies singing 'Walk with Me' for 26.2 miles next year.

The rest of the night was a resounding success with Stagestruk, Jess, Kristian, Steve Adams, Jo Jordan and Tracy Allen all having the audience dancing the night away.

It seems the first Follies Fundraising charity concert was raising some eyebrows but even more so people were being generous and helping us raise money. The auction alone made £235 for 3 items and with the night drawing to a close the rest of the takings were yet to be counted. 

The total amount raised for our night was £1100!!  We were all on a natural high and absolutely delighted with our efforts for the evening.  Not only had everyone had a good night but people could finally see the Follies together and get to know our aims/hopes/fears and dreams.

I'm sure there will be many more evenings and events to come and they will be on our website for all to see and follow at

We are all on a journey but we've also come through some hard and sad times too.  On previous occasions I've always released the evenings balloons up to Dad.  On this occasion however I also passed the scissors over to Annmarie because I thought that her husband Dave who tragically died 4 years ago deserves some of the party too.  This is our way of saying we've had a great night, we love you, we wish you were here and we miss you.

with our love xxx

All that remains for me to say is thank you so much to everyone who helped make it a fantastic night.  We are looking forward to next years concert which by the way is already booked at The Willows Club on 5th October 2012.  We look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Our first half marathon has been walked

The miles are clocking up - but we need more! 

Most of the girls have only walked a maximum of 9 miles, some only 5 or 6.  We needed a longer walk so we set a new mini challenge - a half marathon!

Caroline has twin boys who go to cadets and they had arranged a sponsored walk to Hornsea on 1st October, raising funds for their Squadron (152) so what better excuse did we need for a long walk.  There were no time restraints so no rush and we've all done enough mini walks to give us the confidence to walk that distance.  We could take it easy and flush out any injuries or problems and deal with them before marathon day next May. 

We had a couple of Follies missing in action, Ray was away on a walking break with his brother-in-law and Tina was having babysitter issues so that left 6 of us to meet at 8:30 at Jayne's house.

The weather was beautifully crisp and the sun was shining with not a cloud in sight, a glorious October morning lay ahead of us and an old railway track heading all the way from Coniston to Hornsea and back was our planned route.  We set off at a decent pace, chatting and enjoying the stunning views along the way, excited to be heading out and looking forward to our fish and chips half way round.  Well come on, you can't go to the East coast of Yorkshire and not get fish and chips?  And lets face it we'd earn the calories!

There were 3 of Carolines friends also walking and as you would expect, she soon dropped back with them because one of the girls had come out without her socks on!  She soon started feeling the effect of the charcoal footing and develped some pretty bad blisters.  We wondered whether she would make it to Hornsea but more importantly whether she would make it back.  The track crosses over roads on the way where the twins and other squadron personel had set up check points to make sure we were OK and replenish our water.  We knew that they would help her if it was required. 

Ray kept us updated with picture messages of some outstanding waterfalls and terrain from his Brecon Beacons walk and we were sending messages back, most of them containing Katy and Jane's bums as they were setting the pace and chatting away merrily ahead of us all. 

I do have to say at this point Jane Sturdy had the best bum bag available to man (so much so she went to the shop and purchased said bag for each Follie member for us to take on the Moonwalk with us).  It was incredible and had EVERYTHING in it!!  Deodorant, food, water, foot balm, suncream (full size!).  We just awaited the cooker and 3 course meal to appear but soon realised the kitchen is Rachel domain so that was never going to happen!  .

The walk when mapped was 15.3 miles ( .  Our first half marathon (and some) had been completed!  We were tired, we were sore, but we were happy and we were smiling.  Annmarie had suffered horrendous blisters even with trainers that had been 'walked in' with walking socks, bless her, but we knew there would be issues and we have time to iron them out.

We laughed until we wee'd (some of us literally!) and we were buzzing.  We had achieved something that 6 months ago none of us thought we would.  We soon worked out that it's OK going to the gym and training there and doing interval training, it all helps towards fitness but we need to get out and walk.  We are planning to set a long walk every 4-6 weeks covering at least 13 miles.  It's good training and it'll keep us all on the level we need to be at to start together and finish together.

To top it all off we raised £152.10 - for Squadron 152.  What a fantastic day!!

Well done Yorkshire Follies, we rock!


Let the challenge begin.


Well we had walked and talked but now it was time to put planning into action and register for our first challenge, the London Moonwalk 2012.

The Follies up to now hadn't ever been in any room all together at the same time so what better day to arrange it for but the opening of London WTW registration day - 29th September 2011.

Our inaugural Follies meeting was therefore arranged, we would meet at The Old Rectory straight from school in the morning and register, go off and do our thing for the day and meet back at 5:30 after work, with children in tow to enjoy a buffet dinner and celebratory drinks on the patio.

All the girls were presented with bags which included a letter of congratulations, a Yorkshire Follies t-shirt and YF pens.  A couple of the girls even had surprise gifts in their bags - Jayne laughs a lot so she got incontinence pads and Tina has a weak bladder so her bag contained a catheter - all good fun and that's just how the girls took it.  What a hoot!

The banter flowed as did the wine and we all had a fantastic night building even stronger bonds.  It was wonderful to get everyone together and finally get that long awaited group photo!!

For the first time since some of us took part in that first walk in June we had finally got together and set our first challenge in stone.  All the things we had been planning in our heads were finally becoming reality.

We have all now been formally accepted onto the Walk the Walk London Moonwalk 2012.  Now the REAL training begins, working as a team, finishing what we started, together!

I even made a cake for the event!

The laughter flowed, with yet more wine, as did the ideas for not only our fund raising but our outfits for Walk the Walk.  Oh what fun we are going to have.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Ellie Birch - a different perspective

Happy, Proud and Determined!!

So – Ellie thought that she’d got away scot-free!  . . . . . . Not so, Lady – pin your ears back! Lol

It will come as no surprise to anyone when I tell you that Ellie is the most wonderful wife and mother but there is much, much more to this young lady.  I might be accused of being biased but those of you who know her will, I am sure, agree whole heartedly with my comments and observations.

Ellie has already explained the how and why our group was formed but it really didn’t “just happen” . . . . it was a far from easy journey.

Ever since her dear dad (and my very dear friend) passed away she has been driven with a desire not only to improve her own fitness and wellbeing but also to raise awareness of the cause and effects of heart disease and whilst doing so, raise funds for charity, primarily but not limited to the BHF.

From the very start, the enthusiasm and commitment with which she embarked on this crusade was contagious and the success of this change of lifestyle so obvious that friends and acquaintances became intrigued with her methods and wanted to know more!!

As with most new projects / ventures, the initial period is usually the most successful as determination, novelty and dramatic results provide the motivation to continue and improve.  This was certainly the case with Ellie as she shattered her initial weight loss target and discovered just how good life could be!!

Alas – some 18 months ago a shoulder injury and two subsequent operations meant that the training schedule that she so enjoyed had to be put on hold. The noticeable effect on her mental attitude and general habitus was a real problem for her!

Earlier this year, thank heavens, her injury was cleared and she was able to re-establish her training and healthy eating regime and start to overcome the frustrations of the previous months.

Ever searching for new challenges, Ellie had become involved with the local school during this relative period of inactivity and in so doing, opened the door to many new friendships and the inevitable discussions about her lifestyle.  It was the results of one particular liaison that inspired her to share her methodology (dare I say doctrine?) in a much more positive and open manner and so after much soul searching and deliberation about the best vehicle with which to carry this forward, the local walking group was formed . . . . . their first challenge being to walk the “London Moonwalk, 2012” . . . . . enter the Yorkshire Follies!

This group of dedicated, barmy, fun loving  keep-fit ladies has been a real  tonic for Ellie, and the friendships and camaraderie that has developed since its inception is evidenced by the seemingly endless banter and chit-chat on the groups FB page – who will ever get the last word!!

But make no bones about it people – this is a group with a purpose, driven by a lady who will only settle for the best and for whom the word failure  does not exist!

She is an inspiration, a wonderful example of what can be achieved by resolve, commitment and sheer guts and hard work.

She is my Ellie, my soul mate . I love her to bits  and I’m proud to be part of her dream!


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Ray Birch


Anyone that knows me will know that there is not just me!!  There is another part of me,  another half of me, the part that makes me whole and complete.

It all seems very 'Mills and Boon' but .......................Let me introduce you to my husband Ray Birch,  Since getting together with my soul mate in 2003 we really have been a team in every sense of the word.  We've battled through people not believing in us (completely understandable considering the circumstances), we've struggled through the shock of finding out I was pregnant when it was never even considered because I'd been told years ago that I would have to undergo medical intervention and then had to endure tragically losing our little girl.

We then lived the worry not only of being pregnant again but going into early labour and giving birth to Benjamin 10 weeks prematurely. 

Together we suffered the unexpected loss of my wonderful Dad who was not only my rock and mentor but one of Rays best friends.

Only recently Ray lost his Mentor and great great friend (and since losing his Dad his Father figure Lou Betros).  For the first time I saw him physically crumble.    How do you endure a 72 hour round trip to Kansas in the USA alone to say goodbye to your longest running friend of over 35 years??  Ray did and wouldn't have been anywhere else, that's friendship and thats the wonderful man I married.  He always puts on such a brave front and is so strong for others to help them through, this time it was our time to help him through and my turn to hold him up.

As you can see with such a small synopsis of our bad times (oh there are plenty more!) it would have broken many couples but with the love and friendship we have for each other it's brought us closer together, made us stronger and changed our lives.

I have to add at this point that it hasn't always been bad luck and trauma!  We have lived life like we would never dream.  We've walked and laughed the full length of Alcatraz together looking in every nook and cranny, we've hung off the side of trams in San Fransico just like Mrs Doubtfire.  We have sat in the square in Barcelona sipping on wine watching the world go by.  We've sat on our own patio until the small wee hours putting the world to rights, laughing about our experiences and planning our future.  We married aboard the Sea Princess just off the coast of France on 1st June 2005 which was one of the happiest days of our lives and we've watched our little boy grow up with such beautiful manners.  We've endured 10k's, half marathons, climbing the 3 peaks together to name but a few. 

We have met some wonderful friends and our door is and always has been open, our kitchen table holds more secrets and conversations than I would care to mention but he really has got the best shoulder to cry on and has seen so much of life and the world he is possibly the best source of knowledge that I would know. 

He is kind, generous and loves company, he always starts the day with a smile and I love him unconditionally.  One of my friends said to me only last week.  "If I'm HALF as happy as you and Ray are then I have found my way in life".  In response, I never dreamed I would be this happy and can't imagine life without my Raymondo

Ray is my biggest form of support and we now lead a healthier life TOGETHER.  Yes we enjoy a glass of wine and yes we enjoy entertaining but we are alive and we so enjoy living it.  We also know what needs to be done to compensate our luxuries and we enjoy training together so when I set out on my challenge of getting 'the girls' together it seemed weird that he wasn't involved. 

I know he would never have said anything and I also know that he was screaming inside to join us, after all he had done the previous two Moonwalks with me.  Before very long it seemed obvious to me that the girls expected Ray would be joining us in London.  All I can say is, your gonna have to step up to the plate love and get them legs a moving to keep up with us!

So he is now one of the team and we have his outfit all sorted for the London Moonwalk 2012.  Let's face it we just know he adores wearing he bra and flashing his way all the way to the finish.


Tina Muldowny


This particular blog is probably going to be a short one and you will soon see why.....

When we first started our walking group there were names flying all over the place and people dropping in and out of walks and conversations.  Eventually things settled down and culminated into 8 of us that were committed wholeheartedly into signing up for the London Moonwalk 2012.

I kept hearing the name Tina from everyone but to be honest I had absolutely no idea who had introduced her. 

I knew that she was aquainted with Jane because they had worked together and I knew there was a link with Annmarie because their girls Bethany and Elisha went to school together.  Her son Bailey is looked after by Christine, Annmarie's mum who is his childminder.  Are you confused yet???   Now you can see my problem!

Tina has only managed to meet us for a couple of walks because of work commitments and the demands placed on her by her children and a single parent existence.  What has struck me is the ease in which she gets on with everybody even though she is possibly the most shy person I have ever met. . . . .  another one of us with low self esteem it seems?  I remember that on her first walk she hardly said a word only to say how grateful she was that she was meeting new people and new friends.

When we set of on our journey we all committed to getting healthier, getting our fitness up to the same level and when we went out on team walks that we would help each other along.  Because of her sheer determination and enthusiasm for the challenge she has set herself and the fact she can't get out walking as often as others, Tina trains on the treadmill she has at home every night tokeep up her fitness. She hates the thought that she may get left behind but one thing is for sure,  the way she is going she will be running a marathon well before the rest of us!

I really do look forward to spending more time with Tina - on the few occasions that we have met she has been an absolute hoot.

Just one more Follie to introduce!!!.........


Monday, 3 October 2011

Caroline Whincup


I first met Caroline about 2 years ago when she came to see me about hiring one of my dresses for a ball she was going too.  As with all my ladies I made her feel welcome and hopefully made her feel special.  We eventually found her perfect dress and after a couple of spray tans away she went and had a fantastic night wearing a Simply Elliegance gown.  People are always grateful and say thank you but Caroline is one of the only people ever to have sent a thank you card to the business so I think I did a good job.

That was the last I heard until Jayne B said she was at a slimming club with a girl I'd previously met . . . . .  low and behold it was the same Caroline.

When I saw her again I was astounded at how much weight she had lost.  Well over 5 stone and looking incredible.  Before long she was showing an interest in walking with us but with so little self esteem and  thinking there was no way she would be able to keep up, she did not dare to say she would 'Walk the Walk'. 

It wasn't long though before she was setting herself her first ever Challenge of doing the London Moonwalk 2012.

Caroline has twin boys whom she idolises and it certainly shows in the way she talks about them and supports them.  They are her world and that is very evident.

Here is a lady that has developed from someone who would drive in her car to the corner shop to someone that now walks on the treadmill for over an hour each day; from someone that hated any form of exercise to someone who now lives at the gym and gains so much from it-  and it is showing.  Not only is her her physique changing but also her personality! 

When I've met people along my journey it always amazes me that I can somehow see myself in them. Is that what connects people do you think? Caroline has so much to give yet seems frightened somehow of giving herself any justice or reward. Not daring to try something just incase she fails and thinks she looks silly. Well she certainly is trying new things and is certainly not looking silly, all she needs to do is start believing she can do things and she will certainly amaze herself like she is amazing others.

I'm certainly looking forward to getting to know her better.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Jane Sturdy


I've known Jane over 6 years now.  She was my midwife and the lady that saved our son's life!

At 30 weeks pregnant Jane had popped in to do her usual anti-natal check on the way home.  I had been diagnosed with Symphesis Pubis Dysfunction and was basically bound to the sofa because of it.  Jane and I live in the village so it made sense for her to make me her last call of the day on her way home.

She left having phoned her son Joe to run her a bath having had a bad day at work but within 30 minutes I was on the phone to her sobbing because I'd had a show and  'I didn't feel right'.  She battled with the hospital because I'd had previous problems with pregnancy and they finally agreed to take me in to check me over.  They monitored me, injected with hormones, made me as comfortable as possible and kept me in for the night for observation.

The next afternoon at 14:30 our son Benjamin Harold was born 10 weeks premature and weighing in at 3lb 11ozs.  I can't begin to tell you how frightened we were but I also can't begin to tell you how grateful I was and still am to Jane.  She kept me calm and told me everything was going to be OK - she was right.  We now have a beautiful 5 year old that I seriously believe would not be with us today if it hadn't have been for her.

She puts her life and soul into her midwifery and everyone is her family as her poor partner Rachel finds out everytime they nip into the local supermarket when it takes them 2 hours just to buy a pint of milk.

Jane has always supported me in whatever event I've been doing with words of encouragement and telling me how proud and inspired she is of me, putting her hand in her pocket and sponsoring me for every run, walk, jog or mountain climb I did.

Jane also sponsored Andy for his Challenge66 event and I remember her saying she always liked to sponsor people because she never did events herself so it was her way on contributing - how times have changed!  She has done not one but 2 Race for Life's this year and raised a staggering £551.00 for cancer research.  An amazing feat for someone who does nothing!!

Jane and I went out for a couple of walks together with Willow and Finlay, our respective dogs and when the email went around regarding the Moonwalk, Jane told me she might do it and would go home and think about it - that was a BIG MISTAKE JANE, HUGE!!  By saying you would "think" about it you set ME the challenge of wanting you to say yes and I didn't have to wait too long at all. 

All of a sudden she was enjoying herself and walking further that she had ever walked.  Jane says I am her mentor - personally I still find it hard to hear people saying that but if I can pay her back for the way she helped me all of those years ago then it is my honour. The fact that we now also have a wonderful friendship to go with it is an added bonus.

When we go out walking, Jane really is our Mary Poppins, our David Bellamy or even our Dr Doolittle.  She has saved frogs from the jaws of death (well car tyres anyway).  She could tell you every bird in the Sproatley countryside, she can count rabbits quicker than I can count my calories and she is a Deer Hunter Extrordinaire (real or statue!).  Jane even finds fairy slippers in nettle flowers.  (I for one can actually see the slippers in the flowers and think of them everytime I watch Tinkerbell). 

She also has a wonderful way with.......................... SHEEP,  she talks to them and tries to get into fields with them when all we do is run away from them.  Jane even lets wasps sit on her arm and sting her - what a woman!!

Like myself, Jane lost her Dad and talks or both him and her Mum when we are out.  She has picked up her Dads wonderful love for animals and nature which she passes on to us all, or anyone that will listen and not think she has had far too much sun, or wine!!

It is my pleasure to have you as a walking partner Jane and look forward to downing many bottles of wine along the way, well we have earned them after all!!

Now who's next......................


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Jayne Beck


Well what can I say about................................................. Jayne?!?!?! Hahahahahahahahahaha.

I've known Jayne for about a year through the school that our children go too, dropping them off and  picking them up.  Then latterly through F.O.S.S.A (friends of Sproatley School Association) our schools fundraising group.  We are both members with Jayne being the secretary *still waiting for minutes!!*. 

It was Annmarie that initiallymentioned to her about our walking activities and before she or any of us knew it she was well and truly hooked, out nearly every day and falling down on most of them! Going out with injured knees bruised legs, swollen ankles - nothing stopped her because Jayne has found something she loves doing and was getting such a buzz out of it.

Again Jayne really will do anything for anyone always lending a hand and is always willing to go that extra mile.............LITERALLY.  Many's a time we've been out walking for a short 4 miler and have come back 7 or even 9 miles later not even knowing we've walked that far because we have talked and laughed non stop along the way.

Jayne always comes across as the life and soul of the party but there is a side to her that she never seems to give herself credit for.  She has such enthusiasm  not just for everything she does but also for helping others.  She'll push and encourage you to go just that little bit more, JUST when it's needed and always just at the right time.  We really don't know where we would be without her personality on board.

Although Jayne has a partner, daughter and 2 dogs who she often used to walk, since starting doing 'proper' exercise (sorry Jayne couldn't resist)  with us on the 10th July she has logged every mile.  Whether it has been walked with us, walked with Shaun and the dogs  or cycled with Molly it has been entered into her notebook and so far from just walking, she has covered an incredible 149.2 miles.  I have to say though, I'm still to know if she has a column in there that gives injuries sustained when she is out??  If she's not dropping her water bottle she is dropping herself!

I suppose I best introduce you too her properly now, although it has to be said she is as gorgeous as Cheryl Cole anyway!!

I love you Jayne and thank you so much for being just you, you really do brighten my day.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Katy Wood


Contrary to popular belief I've know Katy for over 8 years.  We first met during a local talent competition but it's only over the last couple of years that we have become really close friends.

In my honest opinion, she is possibly one of the best reporters in the area and when I say that she will do ANYTHING for ANYONE I really do mean it.  Katy has not only raised thousands of pounds for charity on her own behalf, she also supports anyone else attempting to raise money for worthy causes, whether it's by supporting them via the local paper, putting her hand in her pocket to sponsor individuals directly or just getting stuck in and helping out.

Katy's had her own 'rubbish' to deal with over the last year or so but she always presents herself with a smile and is ready to listen to your problems rather than burden you with hers.  I admire her so much for showing such resolve, anyone else would have hidden under a very large rock but she has come out fighting and it's made her all the more loving and caring. 

Katy like myself comes from a very close family and her Mum, Dad and brother are wonderful people who present the true epitomy of what a family should be. They work together sharing problems and opportunities and demonstrate a wonderful rapport.  We've had the pleasure of spending many times with them as a family and look forward to many more in the future.

Katy and I have always been able to 'put the world to rights' chatting easily and openly about so many things.  We've laughed and cried as we've gone along helping each other with our problems and worries.  To me that is what friendship is about - sharing in things whether it's good or bad and helping each other deal with the highs and lows of whatever life throws at you. 

Katy is yet another of our group that is always striving towards a healthier life and this has presented the opportuity to talk often about diet, fitness and lifestyle.  When work and other committments allow we also enjoy training together .  When Katy decided to join us on the Moonwalk I was absolutely delighted and knew that even though I was the only person in the group she knew she would soon be laughing and working along with everyone else - I wasn't wrong!

Katy is doing a skydive next weekend for Dove House and the Love you 2 appeal (yes it is debatable whether she is insane!!).  I'm just gutted that we can't be there to support her by being there to watch her skydive but we shall be in Newcastle preparing for the Great North Run that falls on the same weekend!  I for one wish her all the luck in the world and look forward to hearing all about it.


Saturday, 10 September 2011

Annmarie Bennett

You know about me from the post above (only I'm now 42!!).

Over the next few days I would like to introduce you to our walking group.


Back in June a girl in the village came and asked me about my weightloss and if she could have a chat. ME miss a chance to put the kettle on?? NEVER!!!!

With a very common starting point and an even more common goal, Annmarie and I were soon chatting like long lost friends and got on like a house on fire. After 3 hrs she left with my telephone number and the promise she would be in touch.

The next week she asked about going for a walk and off we trotted, just for an hour and both came back pooped but having talked non stop all the way felt full of purpose - and hope.

We always say everyone has a story - It was the loss of my Dad that started my journey. It was the thought of leaving her children on their own with no parent that started hers. Annmarie is a lady who lost her husband Dave (4 yrs ago) to heart disease at the stupidly young age of 27. She has been left under tragic circumstances to bring up 2 beautiful children on her own (with the help and support of her family and friends) but still she is on her own. With Kalem, her youngest being disabled Annmarie never sees what she does for him or Elisha or anyone else for that matter. She NEVER complains, helps everybody as much as she possibly can is in the middle of a Uni course but thinks everyone else is always worse off than she is.

We are now 2 months down the line and Annmarie has lost 1 1/2 stone. I'm so proud of her but more importantly admire her so much. Elisha and Kalem are a credit to both her and Dave. They are wonderful kids and I have no doubt that their Dad shines on them all every second of every day.

I hope our journey and friendship continues for years to come.


Friday, 19 August 2011


Firstly let me introduce myself.  My name is Ellie Birch, I'm 41 years old and I'm a recovering.............. couch potato!!

3 years ago on 20 November (also my sons 3rd birthday) I lost my wonderful Dad to heart desease and determined to turn my life around, get fit and lead a healthier lifestyle. I was at the peak of fitness running 5k's, 10 k's, half marathons and training for my first marathon and I'd lost 6stone.

BUT . . . Due to a shoulder injury that took me out for  nearly 12 months and having needed 2 operations I had put a stone of that back on and my fitness levels had dropped considerably and my self esteem was at an all time low.  I needed a boost, a kick up the bum and but more importantly some motivation to get me back on track so I asked around to try and get a group of girls together to walk the London Moonwalk with me in 2012.

Little did I know that I would soon be walking around with people I hardly knew but who very soon to became very good friends.

This blog will be written by our 'walking group'.  It will no doubt contain hopes, tears, fears and be tinged with sadness but hopefully will contain a whole heap of laughter from a group of girls that are not only building a wonderful friendship but who are also getting fitter together too.

We hope you enjoy our journey too.