A KIND-HEARTED Capital resident has won a prestigious award from a national charity for his work in improving the health and wellbeing of local people suffering from terminal illnesses.
Paths for All presented Tony Lewty with the Health Walk Volunteer of the Year award at the Scottish Parliament for his dedication in helping those living with cancer and dementia to get out for regular walks in their local community – all while managing his own cancer diagnosis.
Tony joined the Edinburgh Ageing Well project three years ago to manage his circulatory disease and diabetes, and since then has trained as a volunteer walk leader to give back to others what he had got out of the walks.
The role involves leading free, social and short health walks across the capital, supporting people on these walks to enjoy being active, no matter what their age, ability or condition might be.
The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC presenter Fiona Stalker and saw a number of the nation’s volunteers win prizes for their efforts in transforming paths and parklands, as well as community walking habits in their local areas.
Tony said: “I feel honoured, surprised and delighted to receive this award. I’m very lucky to have been invited to become a walk leader by Ageing Well. They have been most supportive.”
He added: “I really enjoy my role as a Walk Leader – the fresh air, the participants, the camaraderie, the cuppa and chat at the end of a walk. The thanks and support you get from the walkers is really rewarding.”
As well as enjoying giving back to his community, Tony physically benefits from taking part in the walks and enjoys walking to help manage his conditions.
Tony underwent surgery for bowel cancer earlier this year, but still managed to organise the walking group from his hospital bed.
Brendan Brodie, volunteer coordinator at Ageing Well Edinburgh said: “Tony is a truly caring and considerate volunteer who goes out of his way to help all of his walkers and leaders.
“He inspires, organises and mentors his fellow walk leaders, to ensure every health walk they lead is supportive and welcoming for anyone to join.”
Brendan added: “I’m really proud to have such fantastic volunteers playing a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing of the people of Edinburgh, and it’s great to see Tony recognised at Paths for All’s annual awards.”
Ian Findlay, chief officer at Paths for All, said: “Our Volunteer Awards are a chance to thank the country’s unsung heroes who work tirelessly, out of the goodness of their hearts, just to see their efforts benefiting others around them. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and we always look forward to this event when we put our amazing volunteers at centre stage.”