A BORDERS woman's dedication to helping people who live with cancer has been recognised at the Scottish Parliament.

Brenda Robertson is a Walk Leader with a pioneering projected in the region which encourages cancer patients to remain active.

The former PE teacher from Darnick takes her group for a wander every Wednesday - even in the pouring rain.

And on Thursday her commitment was rewarded with being named as the Macmillan Walk Leader of the year Award by organisers Paths for All.

A delighted Brenda told us: “I was really pleased to have been nominated, it was such a proud moment - but I was so chuffed to have won.

“This award is not just about me.

"There is a whole team of staff and volunteers involved with the programme at Live Borders Macmillan Move More working to support people living with cancer in the best way we can.

“One of the best parts of the walk is the cup of tea afterwards – the time to chat, share and listen.

“I believe that sharing my love of walking is my part of that team effort.

"I was proud to receive this award on behalf of the Borders Move More team."

Live Borders Macmillan Move More is an individually-tailored programme of physical activity support is designed to help people with cancer to become, and stay, active at a level that’s right for them.

Brenda takes great care in planning the best routes for the attendees each Wednesday, considering each person’s capabilities and rarely using the same paths in order to introduce the walkers to the best of the scenic routes in the central Borders.

The impact of her volunteer work on the lives of others is striking with one of the avid walk users who recently passed away describing how the walks benefitted him physically and socially, saying that 'Brenda’s weekly walks had added a year to his life'.

Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick presented Brenda with the award, as well as a certificate, £250 towards her project and a £30 gift voucher.

Mr FitzPatrick, said: “It is an honour to be in the company of so many hardworking and selfless people, and in particular to hear the stories of volunteers who have carried out this excellent work.

“Paths for All aims to get Scotland walking - everyone, every day and everywhere - and through the passion and commitment of its army of volunteers, it is making that vision become a reality.

“We know that being physically active is one of the best things you can do for physical and mental health, and programmes like this are a great way to get active in a way that best suits you.”

The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC presenter Fiona Stalker and saw a number of the nation's volunteers win prizes for their efforts in transforming paths and parklands, as well as community walking habits in their local areas.

Callie Johnston, Macmillan Move More Development Officer said: “We are all thrilled with Brenda’s achievement.

"If anyone deserves to be recognised for the transformative work in their community, it’s her – her dedication to the programme is admirable.

“Always planning for all possible weather conditions, Brenda will appear at a walk even when it’s raining heavily, wearing her waterproofs and carrying walking essentials for everyone to use.

"She will lead a walk even if it would only be for one person – she cares immensely about all of our users.

“Brenda also rarely misses helping out at any of our promotion events and she is always willing and ready to help out in any way that she can. Recently, we organised a Thank-you Day for our volunteers and we felt that it was only right to ask Brenda to organise a walk as part of it which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.”

Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2018 saw seven individuals and three groups win awards across ten categories: Community Path Volunteer of the Year, Community Path Group of the Year, Path Skillz Young Person of the Year, Path Skillz Group of the Year, Health Walk Volunteer of the Year, Health Walk Volunteer Group of the year, Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer of the Year, Macmillan Walk Leader Award, Step Count Champion of the Year and Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All, said: "These volunteers’ efforts in improving the nation’s physical, mental and social health are invaluable.

“Our Volunteer Awards are a chance to thank the country's unsung heroes who work tirelessly, out of the goodness of their hearts, just to see their efforts benefitting others around them.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and we always look forward to this event when we put our amazing volunteers at centre stage."