Club strides out on 500th march

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Members of a Rastrick Church walking group put their best foot forward to help celebrate a memorable milestone when they took part in its 500th walk.

Since it was formed nearly 36 years ago members of the Rucksack Club at St John’s Church, Rastrick, are estimated to have clocked up between 4,000 and 5,000 miles during their regular walks.

Now they have just completed their 500th walk which took them to the well known Calderdale landmark at Stoodley Pike which pierces the skyline above the Calder Valley.

Robert Beaumont, club secretary. explained the club was formed in 1980 and based on an idea put forward by the late Leslie Wilcox.

“At the time the church needed a new boiler and a walk had been arranged from St John’s to Wakefield Cathedral and back in order to raise funds for the new boiler,” said Mr Beaumont. “Leslie was not a walker so the vicar at the time the Rev Michael Storey, took him on a walk to Stoodley Pike to show him the joys to be had from walking in the countryside.

“It was during their walk that Leslie suggested they should start a walking group at St John’s and that is how the Rucksack Club was formed.”

The celebrations continued the following day when over 50 present and former club members enjoyed Sunday lunch at Berties Banqueting Suite at Elland.

Rucksack Club chairman, Helen Wilson, welcomed members and the Vicar of St John’s the Rev Marion Russell, then said Grace, before everyone tucked in to a delicious meal.

After lunch Canon Storey cut a celebration cake, which had been baked by Anne Beaumont.

Canon Storey then gave everyone an insight into how the Rucksack Club was formed and recalled some of the more interesting and demanding walks which were undertaken when members were much younger.

To conclude the weekend everyone enjoyed a slide show of walks dating back over 30 years, which had been compiled by David Wilson.