A Volunteer Walk Leader, who has clocked up ten years of service despite suffering a heart attack, has been given an award.

Bob Turner is one of a group of enthusiasts who lead Health Walks in the Rochford District for those who want to keep themselves fit and healthy. He now leads walks in Hullbridge which regularly attract more than 30 people with a variety of levels of fitness.

Mr Turner, 69, from Rayleigh, said: “In 2003 I had a couple of heart attacks and was in hospital for a while. When I came out I couldn’t even walk to the bus stop and back, so the instruction was to get some exercise.

“My wife saw the Hockley Woods walk advertised so I went along. One of the walk leaders persuaded me to help him, and it’s just carried on since then really.”

 Rochford District Health Walks are part of Walking for Health, England’s largest network of health walk schemes, run by ramblers and Macmillan Support.

Mr Turner is urging others to become volunteer walk leaders. Those who sign up will need to take part in a training session, but they do not need to commit to a set number of walks/hours.

After receiving the long service award at the start of his latest walk, Mr Turner said: “It’s a nice surprise to get the award – now it means I’ve got to carry on doing it!”

Jeremy Bourne, Rochford District Council’s head of community services, said: “It is a wonderful achievement for Bob to notch up ten years as a volunteer walk leader and I know his efforts are much appreciated by all those who attend. “There are so many beautiful places to walk in the Rochford District and it is such a good way to get to know your local area.”

To find out about becoming a volunteer contact Rochford District Council’s Sports Development Officer, Mark Aldous, on 01702 318121 or mark.aldous@rochford.gov.uk.

Rochford District HealthWalks:

Mondays at 10.45am at Hullbridge Meet in the car park on the corner of Ferry Road and Pooles Lane

Thursdays at 10.45am at HockleyWoods Meet in the car park, which is pay and display, (entrance next to The Bull)

Monday at 10.30am at Richmond Hall, Benfleet Richmond Hall Car Park, Benfleet