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Staff Walking Challenge 2014 prizesA new event, which will see in the official start of the 17th annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival, has already attracted over 60 teams.

The Workplace Challenge involves teams of five aiming to increase their average steps over the period of eight weeks. The team that has the biggest increase at the end of it will win the challenge and prizes. Organisations that have entered teams include Chamber Health, Isle of Wight Pearl, Godshill Model Village and a number of schools.

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It is being launched at Northwood Park on Saturday 2nd May as the two week Isle of Wight Walking Festival gets underway.

The popular annual event introduces a number of new walks this year alongside famous others, such as the Speed Dating walk, Walk the Wight and the Round the Island 24 Hour Challenge.

New events include the Warrior the War Horse walk on 8th and 16th May, which follows a six mile trail on places the famous horse and General Jack Seeley lived. Another new date is the Newtown Creek Retreat, Sketch and Walk event on 5 May. This takes walkers through Newton Creek while stopping at set locations to sketch the area.

Councillor Shirley Smart is the Isle of Wight Council Executive member whose portfolio includes recreation and leisure. She said:

“The walking festival continues to grow in popularity and the council’s events team, which organises the festival, were amazed by the incredible response to the Workplace Challenge event.

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“There are walks that cater for all ages of varying distances, from those for the very young and toddlers to the more seasoned walkers. There really is something for everyone.”

David Thornton, chief executive officer of Visit Isle of Wight, added:

“The walking festival is a major highlight on the Island’s events calendar and is important to our local economy.

“Many walkers choose to make a holiday or short break of their walking festival experience and we hope to welcome festival regulars back to the Island and encourage new visitors to the fantastic landscape of the Island”.

Full details of all the walks can be found by logging on to the new-look walking festival website at

Photographed L-R: Back row; Angela Collis, Natalie Foster, Simon Squibb. Front Row: Alison Hinde, Jacqui Arnold, Steve Wherry, Jenna Langford with Cllr Phil Jordan presenting the boots

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