Colleagues get back to nature during lockdown

Pam Beeby based in Fareham

Funeral colleagues in and around Portsmouth have walked, run and jumped nearly 1,000 miles in a bid to beat the lockdown blues.

The area’s manager at Southern Co-op set the challenge for her colleagues to take them outside of their comfort zone. But even she was surprised at how far they could push themselves.

Nine colleagues, based at local branches of The Co-operative Funeralcare, took part and the winner was Sally Cornwell who walked 123 miles in June compared to just four miles in March.

To celebrate their success, a donation of £200 will be made to Portsmouth in the Community – Sally’s charity of choice and two £50 donations will go to two other local charities for the runners up.

Julie Feist with Jeanette Battersby-Wilcox

Sally, who works at branch in Fratton, said: “Not only do I feel better in myself, I also got to spend a lot of time with hubby and boys as they joined me on most walking occasions which was wonderful. I shall continue to do what I have done in June as its much better than going to the gym.”

Even the area’s Sector Operations Manager, Sue Mawson, got involved and exhausted herself by running 180 miles.

James Smith, who works in Rowner, went from walking 10 miles in May to 90 miles in June.

James said: “We have made friends with some dog walkers (and a particularly energetic little terrier), been attacked by spiky bushes, and learned the days that the local mental health facility does its own walks around and about.

“It has definitely helped keep me and [my partner] Dan sane during June to be getting out and about and we expect it to continue, at least while the weather is nice.”

Sue Mawson Sector Operations Manager

Other colleagues who took part were Julie Feist, based in Southsea – who walked 36 miles with her dogs to every single local branch, Pam Beeby, based in Fareham – who completed 131 miles doing 47 different activities and reducing her alcohol intake to zero, Sharon Whitford, based in North End – who walked 150,000 steps, Stacey Wilson, based in Fareham – who dropped a dress size, Jo Pitman, based in Southsea – who walked 100 miles, and Kyela Trivet, based in Gosport – who walked a total of 361,725 steps.

Claire McGinty, Regional Operations Manager at Southern Co-op, said: “All of the participants are winners in my eyes. We all agreed that everyone did amazingly, not only by participating in the challenge, but for doing something out of their comfort zone.

“It was so lovely to read what each colleague did as part of the challenge and to read that friends were made with local dog walkers, families spent more time together and that the local wild life was explored! We are still in uncertain times so to see that this challenge has helped colleagues feel better is just incredible.”

For more ideas on improving your health and connecting with nature, visit