Lodge Life: Brethren step beyond two million target in walking task

Orangemen who took part in the two million step challenge included (from left) Geoffrey Brown, Paul Clydesdale, Roy Graham and Jack Greenald
Orangemen who took part in the two million step challenge included (from left) Geoffrey Brown, Paul Clydesdale, Roy Graham and Jack Greenald

Seven Orangemen have more reason than most to put their feet up after a busy July – particularly when they have walked over two-and-a-half million steps!

The group of intrepid brethren – including Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning – collectively put their best foot forward as part of an innovative fundraising challenge last month.

Not only did they complete their target of two million steps – but the group far exceeded it and plan to continue their active lifestyle of 10,000 steps per day as part of their regular routine.

Proceeds from the challenge will be split between the Drew Nelson legacy project and Gospel Goal, which is an initiative aimed at promoting the Christian message in local football.

Organiser Paul Clydesdale said the group were “thrilled” to partake in the month-long exercise and surpass their initial target.

“At the outset we thought it was going to be difficult but actually 10,000 steps per day, once you set that goal, is very easily achieved,” he said.

The Portadown man, who collated 285,000 steps, enhanced his total by taking part in a number of Loyal Order parades, including Rossnowlagh, the Twelfth of July in Newcastle and the annual Sham Fight at Scarva.

Indeed, such was the walking involved in the latter two events, Paul confirmed he met his four-day target of steps in 48 hours.

The other participants also took part in their respective Twelfth parades in Donaghcloney, Newtownards and Ballygawley, as well as participating in processions in east Belfast and Glasgow, among others.

Mr Clydesdale said all of the group appreciated the “health benefits” of their fundraising and raising awareness of two “good causes”.

Speaking personally, he said: “I was trying to walk more and lose weight, but the challenge really spurred it on. So often I was in the office, sitting at the computer and then going home to the children. I thought I was being active, but I wasn’t.

“This has shown what I need to do by setting myself a goal. It has been a real benefit.”

Given the success of the inaugural event, Paul confirmed plans are already in motion to expand the challenge next year by involving more participants.

The group have raised in excess of £3,000 so far. Donations can still be made by visiting the JustGiving website, searching for ‘Two million steps’.