'Walking with Joy' 30 years on

By Shauni James

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A Rotorua walking group which has been around for 30 years will hold a reunion next week.

The first walk of 'Walking With Joy' was held on the first Tuesday in February, 1986.

It was started by Joy Gordon as part of the Young Women's Christian Association activities for elder people in Rotorua.

She was part of the YWCA Walkers Group started in 1982 by Anne Moore, who formed a committee for the YWCA specifically for cross country walking.

However Mrs Gordon decided four years later to take a separate group for those who could not do the hard cross country walks.

She told the Rotorua Daily Post the group started off small but grew, with one walk seeing 110 people make a trip to the Karangahake Gorge in two busloads and a van.

There were often big groups of 50 to 60 people at a time, she said.

Mrs Gordon said meeting the people, the camaraderie between them all and the things they used to do to raise money for their trips were aspects she had really enjoyed.

"It was really a lot of fun."

She and her husband would go out in the weekends to make sure trails were okay and would clear them, she said.

The group is still going today under another leader but due to having had spinal surgery Mrs Gordon is unable to join them.

"I really, really miss it and miss the people too," she said.

"In the end it became my thing. I think it kept me going.

"I'm 82 this year, I think I've done pretty well."

Mrs Gordon said she was looking forward to the reunion, and was hoping to see people she had not seen in a while.

"I'll go to that, I have to be there."

The bring-your-own picnic lunch reunion is being held on Friday, February 26, at the Rotunda in the Government Gardens and will begin between 11.30am and 12pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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