The balm before the storm

14 GoodGymers made their way 1.0km to help the Nature's Haven Community Healing Garden in Windsor and Maidenhead.

  • Windsor and Maidenhead runner
  • Diya Singh
  • Amy L
  • Jess Smith
  • Claire Hobson
  • Windsor and Maidenhead runner
  • Windsor and Maidenhead runner
  • Windsor and Maidenhead runner
  • Anne-Laure
  • Windsor and Maidenhead runner
  • Jack Douglas
  • Mandy Driver
  • Windsor and Maidenhead runner
  • Ben Darracott
Wednesday, 1st of November 2023
Led by Amy L

Haven means safe shelter, so what better place to gather in anticipation of storm Ciaran that the Nature's Haven Garden? And what a beautiful, calming space! It feels like 5 minutes ago GoodGymers were helping task owners Claire C and Aleks install planters on a patch of soil outside the Maidenhead Community Centre, but like magic the garden is now thriving - colourful, fragrant, fruitful, and made even more special this evening with fairy lights and a fire pit.

Of course it's not magic; Claire and Aleks have worked hard, along with Jack Douglas from the Community Centre and local residents to create this beautiful, healing space, and we're really grateful to them for welcoming GoodGym to help start the next phase. Our challenge was to clear some big bushes from a bed along the side of the Community Centre. Challenge accepted!

After our welcome and warm up, we had an incredibly short (actually non-existent) walk/run from our start location to our task location, which no one grumbled about since we knew we had lots to fit in before the storm blew in.

Gillian and Roberta volunteered to go in hunt of litter so we wouldn't be too crowded in the garden, and the rest of us set to work cutting branches, digging and heaving out roots and getting our steps in by carrying away the green waste. Jack did a brilliant job with some of the bigger branches, Mandy, Ben, Anne-Laure, Matthew and Aleks were all spotted carrying what looked like whole trees, and there was much laughter as the rest of us wrestled with the roots. It was a great workout!

I tried to imitate various animals in my efforts to tackle the roots. Dig like a badger Amy! Charge like a bull! This was not very effective. Diya and Nicola suggested I looked more like a koala, so I went back to being a human and did some cheerleading. Meanwhile, Claire H and Jess were displaying super strength and yanking out roots like happy dentists!

After about 45 minutes, Claire C suggested we break for hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows before the heavens opened. What a treat! I passed on the message to the group and some gratefully headed to the fire pit to feast on some of the biggest marshmallows you've ever seen.

Not Anne-Laure. She looked at me with a very serious expression on her face and said, 'But Amy, there is a root.' She was no koala! She was a GoodGymer on a mission and she was not going to be defeated. Brilliant! Mandy, Claire, Matthew, Ben and Nicola felt similarly and we were all rooting for them! With that dream combo of teamwork and determination, it wasn't long before there were cheers and the offending root was hoisted aloft for all to see.

As everyone gathered around the bonfire, it felt more like a party than a group run. And why not get together and celebrate on All Saints Day? If any souls were feeling stormy after All Hallow's Eve, this session was the perfect balm to soothe them.

Report written by Amy L

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Amy L
Led by Amy L

Area Activator for Windsor and Maidenhead. Loves running & Pilates and runs to escape from her hoards of small children.

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Wednesday 18:45 - 20:30
Led by Amy L

4 Marlow Road Community Centre

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