AROUND 100 staff members from NHS Ayrshire and Arran and their families braved the elements for the Forest Fit Challenge recently.

The event, on Saturday, September 8, saw participants run or walk either 5k or 2k along the woodland trails at University Hospital Ayr and Ailsa Hospital.

Patricia Leiser, human resources director, who took part said: “We know that being more active is the single greatest factor in improving physical and mental wellbeing for everyone, including our own staff. That is why this year we have launched WOW (Work On Wellness) a campaign to help encourage as many staff as possible to increase their levels of activity and get involved in planned events.

“An active lifestyle doesn’t only have to be about going to the gym, running or cycling, it’s something that can be enjoyed with family, friends and colleagues. Gardening, walking the dogs, and playing outside.

Team Challenge went to Ross Parker, an electrician at University Hospital Ayr, and the first female to finish was Laura Parker, PA to the chief executive.

Robbie Spiers, 10, from Dunlop, came first in the 2k Family Challenge. Everyone who took part was treated to a chunk of homemade ‘tree cake’ and awarded a handmade eco-medal cut from naturally felled branches from the estate and hand-crafted by the team at Acorn Furniture Workshops, Ailsa Hospital.

Patricia added: “This event was the idea of two of our consultants, Alison Spiers and Joellene Mitchell, to promote staff health and wellbeing.

“Alison and Joellene, together with other helpers, went above and beyond to plan everything in their own time and make this event so successful and fun for everyone participating.

“We were delighted with the turnout and to see our staff members and their families enjoying our wonderful woodland trails. Well done to everyone who took part.

“A big thank you to everyone who donated prizes as well - Salt & Barrel (Ayrshire College), Betsy’s coffee shop, Scott Brown Fitness, Costa, Vanilla Joe’s, Linda Shearer, Hunter’s Prestige Caravan (Craig Tara) and the Co-op.

"And to all the other helpers, volunteers and marshals on the day – it really wouldn’t have happened without you all.”