For the last eight years, Katherine Horsham has worked for social causes that are making a difference, so she knows how hard people work behind the scenes to make our communities better places to live. Last year, she decided it was time to push herself out of her comfort zone and also to say thank you to the people she works alongside. Knowing how a little attention and praise can re-energise and celebrate people whose work often goes unnoticed, Katherine signed up to walk with Team England and help to shine a light on these incredible people across the UK.
What was a typical day like on The Big Lunch community walk?
Get up, early. Eat breakfast. Walk to a community stop for an hour or so. Arrive and enjoy tasty snacks for a couple of hours while we had great conversations getting to know the project. Get walking again for several hours, when we’d often talk to passers-by who wanted to know what we were doing. Arrive at a second community stop and take your shoes off. Speak to awesome people while probably eating some more food. Have some downtime with the team. Get an early night!
What was the highlight of your experience?
Arriving home to my own Big Lunch. The amount of effort put in my family and neighbours to organise it was amazing. It was the perfect end to an unforgettable journey. Even though I was absolutely exhausted, I somehow managed to take part in several of the sports-day races.
What did you learn during the walk?
That I can do so much more than I can imagine, particularly on the fitness front. Since the walk, I’ve gone on to complete a 46-mile cycle, swim a half marathon, and I run regularly. I'm also doing the London Triathlon Sprint next year.
Having seen so many projects in such close succession across England, I also learnt that the core of what they are all about is connection and belonging - whether it's equine therapy, a boxing gym or a community allotment. In an increasingly digital world, it's getting together with people to do stuff that changes lives.
And has it changed or motivated you to do more in your community?
Being an active citizen has always been and always will be a key part of who I am and what I do. But the walk helped me to realise that I'm part of a much bigger community of like-minded people who feel and do the same. It restores ones faith in humanity to do the right thing.
If you could give this year's walkers a piece of advice, what would it be?
Do the practice walking and take it seriously! I did about six practice walks beforehand, generally about 13 miles each. Make sure you wear in any new walking boots as part of this too!
And finally, can you sum up your experience in a sentence?
A unique experience that is challenging yet rewarding and could change your life for the better.