Golden surprise for Christmas Day walker Colin Bedford of March

PUBLISHED: 10:19 08 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:03 08 January 2016

Colin Bedford celebrates the 50th anniversary of walking eight miles on Christmas morning

Colin Bedford celebrates the 50th anniversary of walking eight miles on Christmas morning

Archant

A Christmas morning walk has turned into a 50 year tradition for a March man who this year was treated to a surprise when family, friends and neighbours joined him for his eight mile hike.

Colin Bedford celebrates the 50th anniversary of walking eight miles on Christmas morningColin Bedford celebrates the 50th anniversary of walking eight miles on Christmas morning

In 1965 Colin Bedford strolled out for a pre-dinner walk, pushing his baby daughter in her pram, and while on his travels picked up a piece of fallen ash tree branch to use as a walking stick.

Five decades later and he still uses the walking stick, which proudly boasts a notch for every year he has travelled the route.

“The first time I did it my wife was worried sick as I was gone two and a half hours. It was such a lovely walk I got lost and hadn’t realised how long I had been gone,” he said.

Starting from Upwell Road in March, along the Hook to Wimblington grain store and back in a circular route, he said: “It began as me walking out to relive the places where I used to play as a child.

“It has turned into a tradition that works up a very healthy appetite for my Christmas dinner.

“For the last 20 years I have been joined by family friend Pauline Saunders but this year as I began the walk and expected to meet her I saw about 24 others who had all decided to join me for a surprise 50th anniversary celebration - it was a complete surprise and a very pleasant one!”

The ash tree that his walking stick was taken from is etched with every year that he has passed on his festive stroll.

“They were there with mulled wine and mince pies, it was a lovely occasion, I feel very lucky I haven’t missed a single year and have remained healthy enough to do it.”

Colin Bedford with his 50 year old walking stick. Picture: Steve Williams.Colin Bedford with his 50 year old walking stick. Picture: Steve Williams.

he added that since 1965 it has only snowed four times - in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and then in 2007 - and it has only rained five times.

“Mostly the weather has been very kind on Christmas days, The usual weather is over cast and dry,” he said.

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