A DENTON personal trainer organised a sponsored walk which raised £6,096 for St Mary’s Foodbank, Haughton Green.
Andy Hughes, who has been putting on free workouts during lockdown to help keep the mental and physical wellbeing of residents, persuaded 48 women to take part.
He set a challenge to walk a combined 1,056,000 steps in one day which equated to 500 miles.
But they smashed the target and finished with 1,375,482 steps which was more than 600 miles.
Two of those taking part were Lana Mulhearn and Sharon Murray, members at Denton Golf Club.
They walked more than 80,000 steps between them which was about 35 miles and jointly raised £508 towards the total with almost £300 given by golf club members.
Lana, who lives in Hyde, walked from her home along the Peak Forest Canal to Marple and back to Portland Basin and then returned to Hyde.
It was just over 20 miles and took Lana, who runs a caravan storage park in Hyde with her husband, nine hours to complete.
Sharon, who is from Denton and is a care worker, completed a 15-mile route.
“I know the foodbank is extremely grateful as they are finding more and more families are needing their help through these current times,” explained Lana.
“The drive to keep walking was no doubt the thought of local families struggling to feed themselves in such difficult times.
“The thought of children going hungry in our community is unbearable, especially so close to Christmas.”
Lana said: “This has created a whole new community of ladies with very different fitness levels but the same goals in mind to get stronger and fitter.
“Andy and Colette encourage everyone to motivate and support each other through good days and bad, building this new community.”
Andy, 38, saw his business come grinding to a halt during lockdown.
He initially began by starting free online Instagram workouts seven days a week.
Their popularity grew to such an extent that Andy created a YouTube channel offering free 30-minute online workouts three days each week so, once back at work, they would still be done at the start of the day.
Andy, who clocked up his 30th free workout at the end of October, said: “I knew my clients needed to exercise for both their physical and mental wellbeing.
“I knew people were struggling and decided to put on free workouts for them. They started in April and I am still doing them.
“I built a community with 100 taking part in boot camps and a further 400 subscribing to the YouTube channel ‘Team HIITMAN’.”
The outdoor boot camps in Haughton Green, held once lockdown was over, were twice weekly workouts with nutritional advice and other support offered.
Andy, who is assisted by girlfriend Colette Bowe, provides three classes on YouTube at 6.30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and an abs class at 7pm on Thursday. They are all free of charge.
He continued: “I set up the classes simply to help people who were struggling with lockdown, both physically and mentally.
“The group has grown, and I cannot believe the impact it has made.”
Andy lives in Haughton Green and was familiar with the work done by St Mary’s Foodbank which is why he suggested the walk.
“I thought it was a good idea. I may have organised it, but it was a massive team effort,” he explained.
Initially it was hoped to do a group walk but, as that was impossible because of lockdown restrictions, each walker did their own individual route.