MoonWalk heroes: Willa Denham: '˜What it's like to be retired'

AHEAD of MoonWalk Scotland next month, we speak to five different participants from five different backgrounds about who they are, where they come from and why they're '˜walking the walk'. Today we hear from the inspirational Willa Denham from Livingston on what it's like to be retired.

Willa Denham is having a great time in her retirement.

What’s it like being retired? Personally I’m having a great time.

After a normal, average type of life - work, home and family - I retired from my job as a Dog Groomer. I used to show my pet dogs and the highlight of this was qualifying for Crufts.

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With more time on my hands, I joined a gentle exercise class and made some new friends. I mentioned that I’d love to do the West Highland Way and before we knew it, 10 mad grannies had committed to doing a 50-mile hill walk.

Our collective experience was a walk round the local park and as for climbing hills, does going upstairs count? But with the support of our families we trained, we were off and we all did it. Yes a few moans along the way, but outweighed by all the laughs.

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We did another few long distance walks in Scotland, then my best friend was recovering from breast cancer and heard about The MoonWalk Scotland in Edinburgh, organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk. She asked if I would enter with her. I said, you’re on, but unfortunately she had to pull out due to health issues. I did it anyway, loved it and have taken part in the event many more times since.

Two years ago I discovered Livingston parkrun and have since done 50 runs (I walk) and love volunteering.

And no, I have not had a charmed retirement. I had major surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004. I have a serious lung condition, so I’ll never be fast.

My darling husband and soulmate died five years ago. I’m on my own, but quite content. My friends and family and all my other activities have helped me through.

Don’t just think about, DO IT. Happy retirement.