The Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge invited town residents to pick up some health tips and information alongside their shopping this weekend. Over 80 people took us up on our offer, receiving blood pressure checks, cholesterol checks, diabetes checks as well as advice on exercise, healthy eating and mental health.
We took over a unit in the Nicholson Shopping Centre from 10am to offer advice and information on getting fit, eating healthily, the effects of high cholesterol and how to manage it, diabetes, and the risks of high blood pressure – all completely free of charge with no obligations.
Neil Gow, event organiser, commented “After having their blood pressure checked 19 people were advised to visit their GP within a month and two were advised to visit their GP within a week. This proves that these events really do potentially reduce ill-health and perhaps save lives.”
Having teamed up with Hearth UK to offer free cholesterol checks and blood sugar tests; the team gave advice on how to lower cholesterol levels and avoid contracting diabetes, which is an increasing healthcare concern. Of those who were tested 10 were advised to make changes to their diet immediately and two were given advice on medication to manage high cholesterol and told to speak to their GP for further investigation.
The team were also joined by staff from The Magnet Leisure Centre who were on hand to talk to people about healthy eating and the importance of exercise to maintain a healthy weight and promote healthy hearts.
For the first time this year advice was also on offer regarding mental health. Rotarian Victoria Williams, a therapeutic coach, spoke to people about mental well-being, tips on reliving stress and anxiety and signposted visitors to organisations that can provide additional support.
Another new feature of the event was an onsite consultation on good posture from Laura Rigby from Berkshire Health Clinic. Laura not only gave advice to the public, but more than a few Rotarians who took advantage of the superb service Laura was providing.
The Health Awareness Day, Fit for February, is just one of the many local community based activities carried out by the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge, alongside a free Easter family fun day in Grenfell Park and a close working relationship with FoodShare helping to feed the hungry in Maidenhead and the immediate area.
Every year our club helps fellow Rotarians from Maidenhead Rotary to plan, organise and marshal the annual Boundary Walk. This year was the 36th year the event has run and is organised with the aim of facilitating local people to raise funds for charities that are close to their hearts.
Maidenhead Boundary Walk is based on an ancient custom called Beating the bounds. Its roots go back to mediaeval times when parishes reaffirmed their boundaries by processing round them at Rogationtide,
stopping to beat each boundary mark with wands and to pray for protection and blessings for the land.
Today Maidenhead has expanded outside the old boundaries of the town, but you can still find the old boundary stones, and this is the route we follow for the annual Charity Boundary Walk.
This year saw a record turn-out of walkers with 648 taking part in total, supporting more than 64 different charities and raising over £25,000. These numbers alone are testament as to what makes this event so special and one we are very proud to support. Below is a viewpoint from Kevin who was at one of the marshalling points!
After a busy week travelling to Spain and watching my team Chelsea win in Madrid and then lose on Saturday, it’s Sunday morning and the alarm goes off – why I ask myself? Then I remember I volunteered to help marshal the Boundary Walk. So I get myself ready, pack the car boot with coats, rain hat, jumper etc. The weather doesn’t look good. I am off to the Shire Horse pub on A4 to help people cross a road without stopping the traffic.
I meet my fellow victims (sorry volunteers): Robert a potential new member who used to be a Rotaract member and Geoff, a Rotary member, and now retired former treasurer of Maidenhead and Windsor Council.
We exchange stories and get to know each other. That’s one thing about Rotary, you get to meet some interesting people. Our first visitor arrives, we wait patiently for a gap in the traffic…finally he crosses! So it begins: more people slowly arrive, grateful that we can escort them over the road waving a stop sign (the rules said we were not supposed to do that). Have you ever tried getting over the A4 without getting caught in the middle?
Being at a crossing by the pub means many of the walkers seem take the opportunity for refreshments. Can’t blame them - it’s the half way point and they were obviously thirsty. So at the end of our stint the new crew take over our duties. Robert and I retire to the pub. Getting to the bar is fun it’s packed with boundary walkers all enjoying the local ale!
So if you want to be thanked by lots of different folks and meet some fellow like-minded volunteers I recommend it. This is the third time I have volunteered at the Boundary Walk at different points along the way and each time I have enjoyed it. BTW it didn’t rain on my watch.
PS the beer was good!
Timbertown is an annual children's even, run over the August Bank Holiday in Maidenhead for approximately 350 local children, aged 6 to 11. The children form into a number of groups and set about building their huts using timber and
material provided by local companies. They get to use real hammers and nails, pliers, saws, crowbars, glues, and paints – and there's a number of games and water activities across the long-weekend.
We had spectacular weather for the whole weekend which fitted in perfectly with this year's "Timbertown at the Beach" theme. The final day sees all of the huts being pushed in to the middle of the park for the grand finale Bonfire!
Two weeks later a few of us were back in the park to clear up all of the ash, nails, and general debris before throwing down the new grass seed-mix. In total our Club members contributed 105 hours this year covering a variety of activities from set-up, assisting to build the huts, games and activities, dismantling and the clean-up day.
The Maidenhead Half marathon is one race I’ve only ever marshalled – firstly because it falls the week before the Thames Path challenge and secondly because it’s a local race and I’ve always believed as a runner it’s important to give back and marshal once in a while.
This year was a bit different though - back in April a friend of mine said she wanted to run a half marathon to raise funds for the hospice that had looked after her dad who sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and would I get her ready to do it. Of course I agreed and paid her entrance fee that day and set out a 12 week training plan for her. Over the next 3 months we ran and built up the mileage, we chatted and there were tears – I always say that running is cheaper than therapy!
Race day finally arrived and it was a perfect day for running – fairly cool and overcast but no rain! The countdown began and we were off - I’d estimated I could get her round in about 2 hours 10 minutes so it meant everyone knew roughly where and when to expect us. It’s a 2 loop course but lovely running out through Maidenhead and then through to Cookham with plenty of support pockets along the way. A big group of family and friends were stationed at what was mile 3&8 with banners and cheering which helped and I made that her goal to focus on. The next goal was to get to mile 10 which meant it was just a parkrun left to go.
I could see at mile 11 she was starting to tire and I remember saying ‘Just get to Kidwells Park that’s where the loudest marshals will be’ and they were – Maidenhead Bridge rotary once again amazing, seeing familiar faces and having people cheer you on makes such a huge difference. Through the underpass and then up the high street (which feels much longer having run 12 miles and when you have to run past Costa without stopping for a flat white) and all the wonderful people out shopping who are shouting and cheering for you to push on that last bit.
Then suddenly there was the finish line and we ran that last 50 metres hand in hand remembering her dad and why we were doing this. He would’ve been so proud of her and she raised over £1800 in his memory.
Half marathons are hard, 13.1 miles is a tough distance and when it hurts never under estimate how much a cheer, a few words of encouragement or a clap can help push someone to dig a bit deeper. So if you haven’t marshalled it yet volunteer next year – you could be the difference between someone wanting to quit and finishing, runners might not always show it (although more do) but they are so grateful for this important job and without these amazing volunteers wonderful local events like this wouldn’t happen.
I didn’t do a bad job on the pacing in the end – I got her home 2 hours 10 minutes and 11 seconds!
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