Lodge Life: Orangemen set for two million step challenge

Orangemen taking part in the two million step challenge next month include (from left) Jack Greenald, Harry Baxter, Paul Clydesdale and Roy Graham
Orangemen taking part in the two million step challenge next month include (from left) Jack Greenald, Harry Baxter, Paul Clydesdale and Roy Graham

Whilst Orangemen are renowned for their walking, two million steps in one month is still quite a feat.

However, this is the collective target set by seven intrepid brethren who will be putting their best foot forward throughout the duration of July.

Fortunately for those participating their step counter will be greatly increased as the challenge comes at the height of the parading season, with a number of flagship demonstrations taking place – including the Twelfth.

Proceeds from the innovative fundraiser 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.

Among those taking part is the deputy grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge, Harold Henning.

Organiser Paul Clydesdale maintained the target is for each participant to walk an average of 10,000 steps per day next month, meaning a cumulative total of two million steps.

The Portadown man said: “Ten thousand steps per day may seem like a lot, but when you see that it may take 500 steps to walk from the car park to the local supermarket then you’re well on your way to hitting your goal.

“Bearing in mind that July will include the annual Somme commemorations, the Twelfth, the 13th at Scarva, and many other parades, then completing an average of 10,000 should surely be within our capabilities.”

The Orangeman confirmed the group have been increasing their daily exercise routines in recent weeks.

“Step trackers have been purchased, and all of those taking part have already been out and about on the streets building up their daily steps at lunchtimes and evenings.

“The dogs belonging to some of those participating have never been walked as much in their lives!” he joked.

Mr Clydesdale added: “For some of the team it has already highlighted how sedentary their lifestyle really is, and for their need to build up their activity levels.”

Commenting on the ventures benefiting from the fundraiser, Mr Clydesdale said: “Both of these good causes have a special significance for members of the institution, and so we are proud to be able to assist them in this manner.

“Gospel Goal has been doing magnificent work in spreading the good news of the Gospel around the Northern Ireland football scene and beyond, and the Drew Nelson legacy project has terrific potential.”

The group aims to follow up on the challenge later this year with a walk around the four Belfast Premiership grounds, also in aid of Gospel Goal.

You can keep up-to-date with the team’s progress on their designated Facebook page throughout July. To make a donation, visit the JustGiving website, searching for ‘Two million steps’.