Since 1999 the groups involvement in the Nijmegen Vierdaagse has been organised by a committee because it had become too large a job for one person. Due to the withdrawal of an official sponsor in 2003, it was decided that the best way to carry forward the group’s participation in the event was to create a self-supporting “club”. During the 2003 event a formal voting process was followed by all group participants in order to elect the core committee for the coming years.
The current holders of the elected committee posts consist of the following:
Chairman – Paul Wade
My first Vierdaagse was 2004, even though I had first heard about the event as long ago as 1982 when I was working for BT in London. Over the years work colleagues, including Herman Boston and Trevor Day, would tell me how they enjoyed the whole experience at Nijmegen, but my various commitments and love of cycling and hill walking took up all of my spare time. Late in 2003 Herman told me about the formation of the BDWF, and talked as enthusiastically as ever about the “Spirit of the Vierdaagse”. I was convinced and decided to give it a try. I have done the Walk every year since except for 2008. Completing the Walk in 2015 felt just as good as the first time.
During the many training walks and all through that first Vierdaagse I was encouraged and helped by many of the more experienced BDWF members. The camaraderie of the members has continued to inspire me over the years in the way I know it helps and inspires new and established members alike.
I know how demanding the Walk is each year, both mentally and physically, and have experienced the disappointment of failing to complete. In 2010 I was taken ill at 1.00 a.m. on day 4, was unable to walk, and was subsequently hospitalised. Back in Nijmegen in 2011, crossing the finish line on day 4 was all the sweeter.
I enjoy hill walking (in May this year I walked the Inca Trail) and wilderness back-packing as much as ever. I have completed 7 other IML walks, but the annual trip to Nijmegen is unique and very special. I hope to complete my 10th walk in 2016 on 100th Vierdaagse.
As the incoming Chairman I plan to use my business experience over many years to build on all of the hard work of Committee members to help the BDWF continue to move forward and succeed.
I was first invited to participate in Nijmegen by Trevor Day when I worked in London and totally dismissed the idea. Then in 1991 when I contracted Iritis (Iritis is a painful inflammation of the iris of the eye and a sister to Glaucoma) I decided to walk and raise money for this little known charity. There are many people who sufferer with this condition or Glaucoma and if not treated early causes blindness. The symptoms are severe pain at the back of the eye and bright lights.
I always said I would do the walk once and because I did not take advice suffered badly with blisters. I did complete the walk and I decided the following year to give it another go once the pain had worn off and I could only remember the good bits. I also took on the training for the Swindon youngsters in 1992. The toughest challenge I have faced so far in Nijmegen was taking 50 youngsters aged 11 to 17 in 1995. We stayed at a smaller Sportshall called Zwaluw. Some of the students had never been away from home before and were undertaking a tough assignment. I am happy to say they all made it.
Following eight successful Nijmegen Vierdaagse, I sustained a back injury and decided to call it a day in 2000 to concentrate on training the youth element. Since 1992, the number of students participating on a yearly basis in Nijmegen has ranged from 20-50 and in that time only 3 students have failed to complete. I am fortunate to have great help and support from teachers, members of the committee and other members in Swindon.
Our training walks are held fortnightly from January until July, starting at 10 miles and building up to the required distances. Everyone is welcome.
In 2004 we became the BDWF, a move away from BT Nijmegen group and I was elected to the committee. Within committee I was elected Treasurer and Student Liaison and have been ever since. By law all clubs which have under 18s as members must have a Child Protection Officer (CPO) and I took on that role 5 years ago.
As I will not be walking, my role in Nijmegen is the Event manager. I do enjoy my role on the committee and in Nijmegen and I am grateful to the members electing me back into office. I will endeavor to strive hard to give the best Nijmegen experience for our members.
First Aid & Support Co-ordinator
Volunteer with the Air Cadets since 16, heard of and rejected Nijmegen as madness in his late 20s but found himself aged 40 in a cadet military team, met BT and brought the first cadets to sportshall De Dennen, has walked all four of the 4-day events, keen to support UK youth participation, enjoys the atmosphere and camaraderie, aiming for the 100th vierdaagse (2016), a proud father and grandfather, retired after an accountancy career, still with the Air Cadets, an occasional geocacher, keen to help BDWF move forward.
I’m John Pryce, a late starter at the Vierdaagse but looking forward to as many future marches as I can manage. Professionally I am a university research mathematician and software engineer, officially retired but working part time at Cardiff University.
I got involved because my teenage daughter Joy went to the Swindon school where Herman is a teaching assistant. He persuaded her to give the practice walks a go in 2013. Unfortunately it was a particularly unfriendly January. Joy being of African heritage found the bitter weather too much, and gave up. The fact that Holland in July would be a bit different did not sway her. But Dad, a regular hill-walker, was interested, and I joined up in 2014 and walked as part of Zoe Chapman and Richard Courtney’s 40K student team.
This year, my second time, I did 40K as an individual. Both ways – team and individual – have their advantages. My first time, I was really unsure whether I would be able to complete the four days, so the encouragement from being in a team was a great help.
In 2014 I suffered quite badly from blisters as well as stiffness and occasional muscle seize-up. In 2015 I listened to good advice from my body and fellow walkers. I used a size larger trainers, nutrition that suited me (I’m a nuts and raisins person), and electrolyte in my drink to ensure proper hydration. For these or other reasons, I finished with one small blister that disappeared in a few days, negligible stiffness and no seize-ups. So one does improve with experience.
Much of that experience I wouldn’t have gained without being part of BDWF. I really appreciate the camaraderie of the fellow-walkers and the skilful logistics put in place by the officers, so it wasn’t hard for Herman to twist my arm and persuade me to join the committee. I hope to play my part in helping provide our members an enjoyable Vierdaagse in future.
Hello, I am Caroline Kok and since 2001 I have been a member of the BDWF. In 2000 I walked Nijmegen on my own and struggled the third walking day because of an ankle injury. A couple of BDWF walkers took me to their first aid post and although Frank did what he could I didn’t succeed that that year. When I got back to work after a disapointing week I discovered that the Telfort office stood right next to the office were I worked at that moment and I decided to give them a call to hear who organized the BDWF.
It was Trevor Day! The receptionist told me who he was and how I could contact him. I sent him a postcard to say thanks for helping a complete stranger.
Six weeks later I got a phonecall from Trevor who asked if I wanted to join BDWF for a walk in Switzerland. Of course! In 2001 I tried to walk Nijmegen for a second time, this time I got the medal! Without any blisters, musclepain or anything this time! In 2002 I couldn’t walk because I was pregnant from my daughter Nienke but helped as a translator during the Nijmegen week. I made some great friends and although I haven’t been to Nijmegen the following years I always kept in contact with a lot of my new friends. In 2010 I was asked by a BDWF friend to meet at sporthall De Dennen and so I did. The rest is history! The next year I helped two days and Herman asked me if I want to help with some translation work.
For a living I work for a publisher of calendars and christmas cards and therefor I have to speak regularly in English and next to that I have a couple of English friends who I write often. In 2012 I was asked to take place in the committee. I love to do that! It’s a wonderful group of people and the Nijmegen week is always something special. I am happy to be able to do something back for all the fun they gave me!
Online Media – Cindy Snijders
Hello, my name is Cindy and I am the second Dutch committee member. I am BDWF-member since 2000. I have walked the ‘4-Daagse van Nijmegen’ for the first time, when I was 12 years old. The first years I walked with my father. After that, I have walked with BDWF-friends. I completed the 4-Daagse 10 times. In 2012 I stopped walking. There was no reason for me to stop with going to Nijmegen. Every year you will find me at the office and the rest of the year you will read my texts on the website, Facebook and Twitter.
Do you want to share information on the website or do you like to share pictures and video’s? Please send them to me and I will upload it on the web.
Outside the Vierdaagse I also see and speak a few BDWF members . You aren’t friends for only a week! It’s nice to see each other at home or during a meeting. I also have contact with English members through Social Media and I have traveled to Swindon 2 times.
For the BDWF Nomination Form, click here