People were encouraged to sign up for this year’s Big Pledge London Calling challenge at two events last week, with a little help from Paralympic Gold medallist swimmer Stephanie Millward MBE.
Stephanie joined Wiltshire Council’s Big Pledge team at Springfield Community Campus in Corsham to support getting people involved and being more active.
Stephanie said, “The Big Pledge is a fantastic way to get active and have fun doing it. The wide range of challenges means that there is something for everyone no matter what your age or ability. So don’t wait, sign up now and get ready to start going for gold from 5 June”
At a second event at Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury, the team was also joined by para-alpine ski guide, and 2018 winter Paralympics hopeful, Jenny Kehoe joined the team for the launch event.
As well as helping people to get involved in the Big Pledge, staff at each centre took on a challenge of their own by riding as many miles on exercise bikes as they could, all in the name of getting active – which is one of the Big Pledge’s main aims.
The challenge officially gets underway on 5 June and runs through until 30 July, and everyone is welcome to sign up, no matter what their age or ability.
This year’s challenge is celebrating the World Athletics Championships coming to London for the first time this summer, with a series of challenges to help encourage individuals and teams of all ages and abilities to get active, get out and have fun.
Chris Williams, Wiltshire Council’s portfolio holder for communities and youth said: “We’ve already had a brilliant response so far and our sign-up numbers have increased compared to the same time last year, which is really encouraging. It was great for our team to meet people face to face at these events and tell them all about it.
“When Big Pledge starts it will be right at the start of summer and the perfect time to get outside and get active. So we ask that people talk to their friends, family and colleagues and make the pledge to get involved and see and feel the health benefits for themselves of being more active.”
Big Pledge challenge champion, Bart Gee from Chippenham, took part in last year’s Big Pledge and is signed up to get involved this year. Bart helped support Big Pledge at the event at Springfield Community Campus.
He says, “I have suffered from arthrogryposis since birth; it is a rare condition which severely affects my movement so I have very restricted movement in my arms. I am always looking for something to maintain my fitness and challenge myself so the 2016 Big Pledge was perfect. Even though I have swum since I was eight years old I knew that the 2016 swimming challenge would test my limits. As soon as the challenge started, I got stuck in and focused on getting in the kilometres and reached Gold 50km in the eight weeks! It was a real sense of achievement. Since the Road to Rio I have gone on to complete a 5km swim.
“This year I have signing up for the sports challenge to help me focus on my training for the Superheroes Triathlon I will be doing in August. I am delighted to see that the ability sports challenge has been added for 2017 so other people with a disability can have the chance to get involved and challenge themselves.”
To sign up to this year’s challenge people should visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/bigpledge, where they will also see stories from people who have previously taken part.
The challenge is for people of all ages and abilities from those who are new to exercise and who just wish to set some walking goals, through to those who want to push themselves in multiple sports events. The Big Pledge is a fun way for everyone to become more active either individually, or as part of a group of friends.
People can also find more information on Facebook by searching for WiltshireBigPledge and are encouraged to share their progress on Twitter, using #BigPledge.