The Footloose Story

Footloose was the inspiration of Linda Marshall, who wanted to encourage single people in the Furness and South Lakes Area with an interest in walking, to get together to plan and enjoy walks, sharing the walks leadership as volunteers. Linda approached the local press who put together an article about the first meeting to be convened, which was held at the Stan Laurel Pub in Ulverston, in October 1999. Some 40 people attended. After the initial period, with a steering group to run Footloose affairs, even that formality was dropped and, or so it seemed, the Group ‘just worked’ with the unanimous support of its Members. In fact it was largely due to the unobtrusive but very effective work of another active member Simon Hughes, plus one or two others, who kept the show on the road over several years.

From the start, the Footloose Walking Group was run on a deliberately informal basis, so that a group of like-minded people could meet regularly for walks and social purposes, with the minimum of bureaucracy and formal committee procedures. It is still our goal to appeal to, and serve, the interests of individuals wishing to walk and be sociable in company with others. A voluntary steering group was established to run the Group’s affairs in the first year, but Footloose was run very effectively for several years by just one or two individuals. At the end of 2009 however, it was decided that changing circumstances and the need for at least Public Liability Insurance, meant that we needed to establish a working Committee structure around an agreed Constitution. To that end, the AGM in 2010 opted unanimously to adopt a Constitution and elect a Chairman and Committee to handle its affairs. Such formality as we have today, is based on that decision. The Committee members are all volunteers, and no expenses are claimed for service on behalf of Members. The good news is that thanks to the Internet, postage costs been eliminated so that the annual subscription was £5.00 in 2002 and remains the same today, despite the addition of the aforementioned Insurance Costs. Our committee arrangements have not increased costs. Not a lot of bodies can say that!

Footloose now

We are a friendly group of over 80 members and Footloose retains its original aim to serve the interests of like-minded people, though we are now very much a club open to all, not just singles. We welcome anyone interested in the sort of walks and social activities we provide.

Membership was originally mainly located in the Furness area of Cumbria, but today it divides fairly evenly between the Furness and Kendal areas, with a number of members living outside the county. Meetings and social events tend to be held as far as possible, alternatively one side of South Lakes or the other.

While walking was, and still is, the main activity, in recent years it has been good to see members volunteering to run social events, either for individual groups of friends, or for the wider membership. Birthday-related events, theatre visits, ceilidghs, walking weekends from hostels, walking holidays abroad, provide good examples of this activity. Bowling, archery, climbing walls and kayaking have also featured (not all at the same time!) One memorable occasion saw some of the group in a Dragon Boat race.

(Updated 2018 )