The Louise Smalley Walk is a 40 mile challenge walk held in June every year.
It’s primary function is to raise funds for people less fortunate than ourselves.
We are based in Whitwell, North East Derbyshire

The first LSW came about one drunken Sunday lunchtime in the Royal Oak pub in the Derbyshire village of Whitwell.
As a newcomer to the village I was asked about leisure activities in which I participated. Among those was “walking”. I mentioned a walk called “The Limey Way” and how I would like to walk it again in a single day. I explained that it was a “challenge walk” of 40 miles to be undertaken in 24 hours.

Under the influence of alcohol, a generous number guys said they would join me. Several hours later (and sober) the walk gang had fallen to a total of 3, myself and my pals; Drew Beedall & Paul Harding.

We decided to do it for a charity and a guy called David Grist suggested the Bolsover Project, a day group in the village for adults with learning difficulties.

We agreed!

Initially we were short of walkers… Being just the 3 of us and we really wanted to have about 12. The number increased to 4 in early 1994 having been joined by Stuart Tweddle. At this point the magic 12 seemed so very far away. So, what do we do?? We decided on recruitment tactics which included giving the walk a name.

It was about this time that Louise passed away. If she had lived on, she would have needed the group we were supporting. So, it seemed appropriate to name the walk after Louise. Thanks to the other 3 chaps, I was given the task of approaching Trevor & Wendy to ask to use Louise’s name.

6 weeks later, finally having plucked up the courage, I made my move. After some hesitation, I asked for permission to use Louise’s name for the walk.
With a few tears in their eyes, Trevor & Wendy not only agreed, but, vowed to help get the walk up & running.
On the 11th of June 1994 the first LSW took place.
12 walkers, almost as many support crew on a blazing hot sunny summer day.

The rest, as we say, is history.
Great memories. And we are are still going! Who would have thought it?

Josif

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