800km to mental wellbeing - inspiring Woking women to get active

12 March 2018

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Local adventurer and speaker, Tamsyn O'Donoghue, took a female audience along with The Mayor of Woking on a narrative journey on Thursday 8 March at Woking Leisure Centre, as she closed the launch of This Girl Can in Woking, with an inspirational speech.

The intrepid former city worker unravelled an incredible tale about how she quit her job with nothing to go to, took up a backpack and walked her way to physical and mental wellbeing, trekking 800km across Spain in just over a month.

Throughout the rest of the day, women took the opportunity to discover how they too could ditch their inhibitions and break down the barriers that stop them from exercising, as part of the national This Girl Can campaign, and celebrating International Women's Day. Fitting with the theme of getting active, everyone was invited to join a lunchtime walk around the park, followed by the opportunity to try walking netball.

Women who had been inspired by events of the day to set themselves a challenge were encouraged to turn their adventure into a fundraising activity for The Mayor's charity, yourSanctuary. During the launch the charity was on hand to raise awareness of the work they do to help survivors of domestic abuse and the restorative power of exercise for mental health.

Speaking about the launch and the presentation, Cllr Mark Pengelly, Woking Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: "Tamsyn O'Donoghue is one of those rare, inspirational women who has recognised what she needs to do to improve her mental wellbeing, and has grabbed the opportunity by both hands to do something about it.

"What's more, she has made it her goal to raise awareness of how transformative physical activity can be, and wants to other women turn their lives around and get themselves mentally fit too.

"As Tamsyn rightly acknowledged, getting more active doesn't have to mean jetting off to test your stamina across the Spanish plains. A long walk, playing in a sports team, a regular swim, or any similar fitness activity can be just as effective and it doesn't have to cost the earth. There are lots of forms of exercise that are totally free.

"As someone who discovered running as an adult and now trains regularly for marathons, I cannot agree more with Tamsyn's sentiments and hope that her message was heard by the audience and, along with the rest of the successful This Girl Can launch, helped inspired women get out and get more active."

Woking Borough Council, in partnership with Sport England has created a programme of sporting events and activities designed especially for local women aged 14 and over, to encourage them to get active. To find out more about This Girl Can in Woking and the sporting and fitness activities available for women in Woking, please visit www.woking.gov.uk/thisgirlcan and to follow the national campaign and share your sporting achievements, check out #ThisGirlCan on social media.