Annelize's Story

Annelize - volunteers' week image

Annelize was recently awarded the Richard Hambro volunteer award for inspiring leaders - a fantastic achievement for an extraordinarily dedicated volunteer.

Annelize's scheme, Guildford Walking for Health, has built up a reputation for offering well organised, fun and social walks across the region. Her role includes managing a group of other volunteers, promoting the walks, engaging with health professionals and leading walks in the Guildford area.

When asked what makes the scheme so successful, Annelize says "I think the big draw is the social aspect, as well as the physical health benefits. The walks are a great way for people to be social, to laugh and chat for a while".

Els, a local walker, agrees:

“Annelize has a supportive outlook on health and physical activity and she is always caring about every individual on the walk.  If people are  little low in spirit, walking brings a change of attitude, improves your health, and your outlook on life.”  

As well as managing and promoting the scheme across the region, Annelize and her volunteers also make a special effort to visit the St Luke's Cancer Centre in Guildford on a regular basis: 

"We go through the treatment wards and try to talk to everyone and introduce them to Walking for Health. We talk about the benefits of walking, and tell people they will recover faster if they take some physical activity, and that there would be a Walking for Health group near where they live, all they have to do is access the website, and input their postcode to find their nearest walk group".

When not running the health schemes, Annelize works as a garden designer. What keeps her going, with a young family, a busy day job, and an intense voluntary role?

"I do it because I love it! I suffered from depression and found that social walking really helped - I've seen first-hand how walking out in nature works. It's fantastic to see the positive effect that being part of a walking group has on people".

Image: Annelize receives an award from Macmillan Cancer Support, before a celebration walk was held in her honour.