RICHARD Evans proudly cut the cake to celebrate 50 years (plus one, because of Covid restrictions) as an inaugural member of Haslemere Ramblers, founded back in 1970, on Saturday, November 20.

Haslemere Ramblers subsequently merged with Godalming Ramblers in 1976 to form today’s Godalming and Haslemere Ramblers (G&H) and 51 years on, Richard continues to be an active member of this group.

As well as being a walk leader, he has held a number of positions within the group.

He first joined the Godalming & Haslemere Ramblers committee in 1996 and was appointed secretary from 1997 to 2000.

He held the post of chairman from 2003 to 2006. He was also editor of the newsletter, published three times a year from 1998 to 2007.

Richard has always supported the wider aims of Ramblers. From 2004 he represented G&H in the campaign for national park status for the South Downs and the A3 Hindhead Tunnel Project until their successful completion in 2010/11.

He also acted as footpath secretary for a number of West Sussex parishes including Plaistow and Lurgashall.

He has always been an active member of the path maintenance work party and continues to this day.

Although Richard has a driving licence, living in London for most of his working life, he never felt the need to own a car.

He is therefore a great advocate of public transport, often arriving for Ramblers events after a convoluted bus and train journey – but is always happy to accept a lift home!

Thinking ahead, if you want to work off those extra pounds you will have put on over the Christmas holiday, Godalming and Haslemere Ramblers is organising its Festival of Winter Walks between December 19 and January 3.

This has been extended in 2021/22 to include walks before Christmas to help you build up your appetite for your Christmas lunch.

Full details of the walks and starting points can be found on the Ramblers website

All family members are welcome and walks are typically four to five miles in length. Most walks do not require pre-booking, however you should check the website to make sure of this.

After joining for a couple of trial walks, you can join the ramblers from £36.60 per year.

Membership of your local walking group also comes with access to a walking app featuring more than 3,000 walks throughout the UK.

Andy Piercey, chairman of Godalming and Haslemere Ramblers, said: “We look forward to welcoming new walkers to our group and hope that, as a result, they will take up walking as their new way of getting some healthy exercise in 2022.”