Susan Arkley is the Active North Tyneside Lockdown Legend 2020 – read her story below and be inspired!

Susan is in her early 70s and has been a regular visitor to Linskill Centre for many years, starting off as a pupil before joining Linskill Choir and more recently as a volunteer with the engAGE Woollies group, who knit and crochet for local charities. Over time and into retirement Susan has become physically inactive which has frustrated her greatly.

In July 2020 the Linskill’s Active Summer Challenge was launched, to collectively cover the distance of Lands End to John O Groats, 1198 miles following the National Cycle Network by active means, such as cycling, walking, swimming etc. The response was phenomenal with 47 participants logging miles and as a team 4,799 miles were covered across 849 activities.

Susan signed up for the challenge as an incentive to get walking because she did not feel comfortable using public transport during the pandemic and when it was safe to continue with her groups at Linskill Centre. Privately she admitted that she had set herself a personal goal and wanted to contribute 98 miles over the 6 weeks. She did her miles early every morning because during Lockdown she felt really very uncomfortable being around other people and then she could also go out before the heat got too much.

Having located a basic pedometer she started with 0.5 miles around the block daily and to her surprise very quickly built up to 6.5 miles although her regular daily distance hovered around the 2.5 – 3 mile mark, and from nothing this was quite an achievement and she was quite pleased with her efforts. The challenge ended after 6 weeks but Susan’s motivation has not stopped.

She has continued to walk and log her miles (she even plots them on a map) and as of the 25th November she has logged a spectacular 329 miles! Her new landlord has been so impressed that he has given her a second-hand treadmill so she can continue to walk even when the weather deteriorates.

Susan deserves to be a lockdown legend – not only has she continued to keep walking, she has lost weight, got fitter and joined a virtual challenge which has enabled her to join a wider community. Well done and hopefully Susan’s story is an inspiration to us all – to find out more about community activities please email community.development@linskill.org or call 0191 257 8000.