TWELVE older women are taking on tough terrain walks in support of Breast Cancer Care.

Every woman in the Barley Women’s Institute knows someone who has dealt with it within their own family, including their own Maree Showler-Smith, who is recovering since being diagnosed in September last year.

Most of the women are in their 70s but fitter than ever as they undertook section 5 of Pendle Way, an eight-sectional walk covering 45 miles.

One member, Jayne Shaw from Pendle said: “It’s 8am, I’ve just got into work. I ache a bit, but my lower legs are still throbbing from nettle stings, I wonder how the other Ladies are feeling this morning.

“Most of them are 20+ years older than me and retired, at 51 years I’m a spring chicken, we have many ladies walking that are in their 70’s and boy are they made of the good of tough stuff. No snowflakes here.”

The Barley WI plan to walk every weekend.

When Mrs Showler-Smith turned to the group for support, they helped her through her chemo and now as she gradually builds up strength while walking at her own pace.

Mrs Shaw said: “A bubbly young Mother from Fence, with two small boys. September last year Maree had a scan and was found to have a huge mass in her breast.

“Maree is originally from New Zealand and her family are still in NZ so she decided to share her cancer and worries with her WI friends as she wanted our support to get through it.

“She had a rota of members making her hearty family meals for months, huge amount of support and people to talk to during the lonely afternoons in chemo unit. It was no trouble to the lovely ladies of Barley and surrounding villages.”

The National Federation of the Women’s Institute is over 100 years old.

The ladies have campaigned and helped get things passed through parliament for years, like period poverty in modern day.

Mrs Shaw said: “Nobody has been out for a long time, so we meet every weekend, and some women even bring grandchildren or their husbands.

“It’s just lifting everybody’s spirits.”

“Looking back at what Barley WI ladies have done over the last 18 months of lockdown, were much more than that, they’re all superheroes.”

Mrs Showler-Smith said: “I am a lot better than what I was, and WI have been absolutely amazing and supportive.

“I am not strong enough to do the walk, so I just walk around Fence and have done 15 miles by myself. I try to do a mile every other day, but it is hard as I am in pain, and it can be exhausting.”

The final walk is on August 7 and the ladies will hold a small party in Barley to celebrate.

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