Residents and staff at a Salisbury care home have ‘followed in the footsteps’ of singing duo The Proclaimers and walked more than 500 miles.
Over 31 days, walkers at the city’s Braemar Lodge completed enough routes around their garden to match the entire distance from Salisbury to their namesake village of Braemar, 500 miles to the north in Aberdeenshire – plus 255 miles back.
Their initiative raised more than £500 for Salisbury-based social enterprise The Pantry Partnership, the home’s nominated charity for this year.
Kay Callow achieved the most miles among individual residents taking part. She clocked up ten miles by completing 101 laps of the garden and three laps of Victoria Park, which lies opposite Braemar Lodge across Stratford Road.
Kay said: “The challenge was inspiring and I went walking every day to ensure we reached our goal.”
As well as signage in the Braemar Lodge garden, there was a map on a pop-up banner showing the virtual route up to Braemar village in the Highlands.
Walkers’ progress was shown against four stages, with city ‘checkpoints’ in Birmingham, Manchester, Carlisle and Edinburgh guiding the way.
Home Manager Alison Bremner said: “Our Braemar-to-Braemar challenge was fantastic and a huge success. We exceeded both our fundraising and mileage goals. It was a great way to encourage everyone to enjoy being outside in the spring weather and have something to work towards that involved both staff and residents. Just like The Proclaimers, our residents proved they were only too happy to walk 500 miles.”
The initiative has gained warm praise from staff and residents at Craigard House in Ballater, the nearest care home to Braemar village itself. Like Braemar, Ballater is in Royal Deeside, so-called because of the Royal Family’s Balmoral Castle estate just a few miles away.
Craigard House is owned and operated by Craigard Care whose Managing Director Stephen Cowie said: “All our staff and residents were delighted to learn that Braemar Lodge had chosen our beautiful area of Royal Deeside as their destination. We would like to extend our congratulations and admiration to the staff and residents of Braemar Lodge for their fantastic achievement of completing their Braemar-to-Braemar 500-mile virtual walk.”
The Pantry Partnership creates meals from food that would otherwise go to waste and shares them across the community.
Volunteers help to collect, grow and prepare the food and cooking skills are taught through workshops and courses.
In a message to Braemar Lodge, Fiona Ollerhead, founder of The Pantry Partnership, described the walking initiative as a ‘fabulous feat’, adding: “We love how you have embraced the virtualness of a lockdown fundraiser. We are honoured by your amazing work and support. I think you must all be considered as Salisbury’s very own Sir Captain Toms. Thank you so much.”