Good deeds in spades (500 of them for Sheila!!!)
24 GoodGymers made their way 6.2km to help the Braywick Nature Centre in Windsor and Maidenhead.
- Wednesday, 3rd of January 2024
What an evening! A 6km walk/run, an adventurous task in Braywick Nature Reserve, and above all, a big celebration for Sheila's 500th GoodGym good deed. We couldn't have asked for better for our first group run/walk of the year.
A very warm welcome to Kate and Charlotte, who joined us for their first group run/walks with GoodGym. Hopefully the firsts of many.
A great big group of us met at the Maidenhead Community Centre, and we kicked off the festivities by giving GoodGym Queen Sheila the crown and cape that have always been there in my imagination.
Sheila and the walkers then set off across town, led by Taskforce superstar Rachel. Meanwhile the runners warmed up and then we set off too. Thanks to Claire, Gillian and Juli for offering to back mark, and to Angela and Sophie, who zoomed ahead to show the way.
On arrival at the leisure centre the runners had time for a quick bench fitness circuit before our task owner Ranger Tom and the walkers joined us. Press ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers and squat jumps - lucky runners!
I then handed over to Tom to lead our task. We had planned for planting oak trees outside the leisure centre, but the oak trees hadn't arrived, and a lot of mud had arrived on the Greenway, so Tom asked for our help with the mud instead. Good news is that we will still have an opportunity to plant the trees later in the month.
We went to the Nature Centre, where we collected wheelbarrows full of spades and rakes. Then we turned our torches to full and went into the Nature Reserve, to a stretch of the Greenway near Hibbert Road. An ash tree had fallen during the previous day's storm, and although the tree had been cleared, there was still a lot of mud and debris on the path.
Twenty four people working by torchlight made quite a spectacle amongst the dark trees of the Nature Reserve and there was a real buzz as we escaped from 'normal life' into the alternate reality of a GoodGym Winter evening session. Even Tom, who is used to being immersed in nature, enjoyed the thrill of being out in the woods in the cold and dark.
We dug, scraped, raked, scooped and chatted our way through the task, and the hard standing of the path was rapidly revealed. Tom said the same job would have taken his small team hours, so we made a real difference. Well done GoodGymers!
Then onto the important matter of the group photo. Well done Clara for getting creative and suggesting a spade/rake guard of honour for our queen. Well done Matthew for awesome photography, and well done everyone for holding up those spades for quite a long time - you wanted a work out, and you got one!
We then did the tool collection and running and walking in reverse, said goodbye to a couple of people who had to dash, and re-convened in the warm of the Maidenhead Community Centre for Sheila's big milestone celebtration.
And what a celebration! Georgeta brought her signature black forest gateau, complete with marzipan 'GG 500' lettering, Claire had made some gorgeous GF mini cupcakes, Rachel made some stunning flapjacks and pistachio biscuits, and Jack made lots of hot drinks. I presented Sheila with her sparkliest medal yet, a big card, a GoodGym mug and a hand decorated tin of tea - a nod to (and hopefully step up from) the emoji cup of tea I sent her in May 2021 to congratulate her on first GoodGym good deed at the Baby Bank.
Thanks to Matthew for capturing this all on camera. Matthew's direction of the group photo at this point in the evening was the closest I've ever felt to being at a wedding during a GoodGym session, and too right! Reaching 500 good deeds is a momentus occasion, which deserves to be captured in perfect picture form for posterity.
Sheila, WELL DONE! Not only for 500 good deeds, but for but organising and leading a huge proportion of these sessions too, and in doing so, enabling so many others to join in and and feel welcome at GoodGym.
I have a message from Sue Walker at the Boyn Grove Community Allotment saying that they 'wouldn't have managed to keep going in the last couple of years without you'. You have also made a huge difference to the Baby Bank and Braywick Heath Nurseries through regular sessions. The Craft Coop love you for your enthusiasm and contribution both on the crafty side and the practical/installation side of their projects, and your reach goes as far as Windsor, where you've made a big difference with regular Spital Cemetery sessions.
There are of course a great many other community projects and charities you have supported, as well as umpteen isolated older residents, who you have helped through social visits and gardening tasks. I will never forget the resident who made me cry (happy tears!) at a recent borough event, when she told me what a difference you had made to her life.
Kanika couldn't make this session, but sent a message, which beautifully sums up what we all think:
Sheila, thank you for being such an inspiration without any showboating. You, dear lady, are a bonafide legend 😎 Congratulations on this amazing achievement! 🤯
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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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