21 April 2021

Members of the Leeds United Foundation Sporting Memories Club and volunteers have stepped an incredible 1 million (and counting) virtual steps.

The Leeds United Foundation Sporting Memories Club kicked off online in November last year. Alongside remembering and talking about sport to combat social isolation, depression and loneliness among older adults, group members take part in gentle physical exercise. 

Mick Hickling is volunteer Session Facilitator at the Club: “We took the idea of recording our steps from the Sporting Memories Sporting Pink publication, and began in January. Any exercise – even gardening – counts towards steps. While we discuss our steps in our weekly sessions, we don’t put pressure on anyone as the idea is that it should be good fun and not a competition.” 

The group decided to ‘spend’ its 1 million steps on the Steps for Sporting Memories series of virtual walks, and chose the Sir Jackie Stewart Walk. A distance of 5,337,778 steps or 3,660km, it takes in home and international circuits significant in Sir Jackie’s career.  

Volunteer Jacquie says: “We see it as a bit of fun and it gives us something extra to talk about. We also talk about where else our virtual steps might take us, and find we have reached Paris or Britanny, for example.” 

Other ideas have been taken from the Sporting Pink, such as neighbourhood Bingo and scaling mountains, from Everest to Ben Nevis via Snowdon. 

Volunteer Bob says: “"It certainly makes me take more steps; when you know you are going to be telling people and are working to a goal, that makes a difference." 

Beth Kerrigan is Health and Wellbeing Officer at The Leeds United Foundation. The Foundation works closely with Time to Shine and Leeds Older Peoples’ forum to help ensure its Sporting Memories Club reaches as many people as possible. Beth says: “The number of steps our volunteers and members have achieved is incredible and very inspiring. Each week the group has great team spirit in supporting one another with their steps. The volunteers have been great at supporting the group by finding fun ways to motivate and encourage and recommending some lovely walks. These challenges are showing to have a very positive impact on the groups physical and mental wellbeing”. 

– The Leeds United Foundation Sporting Memories Club runs every Wednesday from 1pm until 2:30pm via Zoom. If you would like to find out more or are interested in joining, please contact [email protected].

– The Steps for Sporting Memories series of virtual walks – designed for anyone to complete at any time and however they like – can be found on the World Walking website.  

– If you would like to sign up for weekly, free issues of the digital Sporting Pink nostalgia paper, please go to our Sporting Pink sign-up page

– For details of all Sporting Memories Clubs (online and in-person) in Wales, England and Scotland, visit the Find a Club section of this website.