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As Chairman, I was privileged to conduct the 25th AGM of the Ross and District Walking Group on Monday at the Larruperz Centre. A special welcome was given to Joan Watts, our founder member, who incidentally 25 years on is still leading walks for the Group, an example to us all.

Joan remarked to me only last week that when she and her late husband, Ron, founded the group, she was 62! We also welcomed Sam Phillips and David Collin who have set up a group to turn Ross into a "Walkers are Welcome" Town. The Group has had another very successful year with our membership remaining at 113 and a number of prospective members completing their introductory walks prior to joining.

We have completed an excellent variety of walks over the past year, some of which have been thwarted by weather conditions, and I would like to thank Marian Phillips for encouraging members to make the effort to lead these walks for the Group. As a point of interest, of the walks completed, 4 members have walked more than half, another 10 have walked more than a third, and further 8 have walked more than a quarter. I believe that we may have had more walks in the programme in the past 12 months than ever in the history of the group so there was a great opportunity for everyone to walk.

In November, our President, Martin Carter, presented a fascinating slide show of walks over the 25 years of the group's existence which brought back many memories of friends who are no longer with us. Barbara and Wallace Knowles led a successful walking weekend in September at the Long Mynnd Hotel in Shropshire for 28 members. They had the best summer weather of the year!

The Anniversary dinner was held at Glewstone Court and was again such a success that we booked for this year with the Dinner taking place on 23rd April, the day before the actual anniversary. 46 members have booked to join the 2009 Walking weekend in October which will be in Llandrindod Wells, Powys. Let's hope the weather treats us well again. The Chairman, Gill James, The Treasurer & Membership Secretary, Jan Mander, and Secretary, Gill Moxham were all re-elected for the coming year. Helen Willingham was elected as Walks Co-ordinator and Marian Phillips, Jean Spencer and Harry Britten-Austin were elected to serve on the committee. The outgoing officers and committee were all thanked for their hard work.

After the business part of the meeting, the group were given a talk on 'Keeping fit for Life' by Dr Bruce Fraser, a local McTimoney Chiropractor. He emphasized that as walkers we should be fit, but there was more we could do to prevent joint and bone problems, especially with our upper bodies. We issue our programme for four months at a time and have walks ranging from gentle strolls to mountain hikes on offer, and each month a précis of the programme is to be found in the Library, the Heritage Centre, the Tourist Information Centre, the Larruperz and the Doctor's surgeries.

This year, as a celebration of our 25th Anniversary, the group are leading walks on each of the 9 days of the Hereford Walking Festival from 13th to 21st June. These walks will cover the Mortimer Trail and each of its individual loops, a distance of 80 miles in total. If anyone is interested in joining the Group, please phone either 01989 564443 or 01989 720122 for more information.

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A rest at Lingen Church.

Leaders enjoying a coffee stop.
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