Walking club keeps Charles, 98, young

Walking Tall: Ninety eight-year-old Charles Harvey is the oldest member of the Peak Park Leisure Walkers, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary.
Walking Tall: Ninety eight-year-old Charles Harvey is the oldest member of the Peak Park Leisure Walkers, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary.
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If ever there was proof that exercise keeps you young it’s Charles Harvey who at 98 is still trekking across the Peak District.

The sprightly retired county court officer from Wirksworth has been walking all his life and at the age of 95 joined the Peak Park Leisure Walkers.

He also takes part in weekly sessions with Wirksworth’s Walking for Health group.

He said: “I enjoy the walks very much indeed and I do think it has kept me young and healthy.

“I enjoy the company, the countryside and the exercise. I can’t go on forever but I have no fear of giving up at the present time.”

This month Peak Park Leisure Walks has celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Ten times a year, people who have experienced ill health, are isolated or lack confidence for independent walking are able to explore the Peak District with national park rangers and volunteers.

Mr Harvey, the oldest walker, goes along with his daughter Kate who lives with him at his home in Yokecliffe Drive, following his wife’s death a year ago.

He said: “I’m very grateful to the club for organising these walks.

“I used to go walking with my wife.

“As I no longer drive it’s a wonderful way of discovering new places.”

Peak Park Leisure Walks were originally set up as a partnership between the Primary Care Trust and the National Park Ranger Service, with volunteers from Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport providing a pick-up service.

Diane Whelbourn, of Darley Dale, who has been a leisure walker for five years, said: “The leisure walks do me a lot of good. When you’re in the fresh air any problems you’ve had seem to fade into the background.”

The club celebrated its anniversary with a celebration cake cut by Audrey Foster, the leisure walker who has been coming out the longest (15 years), and volunteer ranger Baz Booler, who helped right from the start.