VOLUNTEERS have improved more than 2,000 metres of Keighley footpaths in memory of a kind-hearted fellow resident.

Thwaites woman Maria Robertson suggested the Walk ‘n’ Sit project to help people with reduced mobility get out and about.

She suggested resurfacing uneven paths and placing seats along the way so people could break their walks into shorter journeys.

Maria, of Clover Rise, died in 2017 before regeneration body Keighley Big Local was able to put the innovative project into action.

But since then fellow members of the Big Local Partnership have to guess the idea and improved more than 2,000 metres of paths.

The latest was this month, with the resurfacing of a path between Grange Road and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Riddlesden.

Big Local coordinator Shaun O’Hare said Maria was a founding member of the Keighley Big Local Partnership, attending meetings and helping secure £1 million of lottery funding for the town.

He said: “Maria came up with the idea to improve footpaths throughout the Big Local area and provide more seating in cleaner, greener and safer areas.

“She recognised many neighbours with reduced mobility still wanted to access local amenities but struggled with conditions underfoot, and also needed to break their walk into shorter journeys.

“Marie felt folks’ problems could be made easier with a leisurely stroll to help unwind and relieve stress, and she used her influence as a Big Local resident to include funding for improvements.”

Shaun said Maria’s legacy was continuing, as Walk ‘n’ Sit was implemented in partnership with residents and Bradford Council’s rights-of-way department.

He added: “Each year Big Local organises a wander around its area and identifies footpaths and open space for improvements.

“To date we are responsible for improving over 2,000 metres of footpath, the latest on the Grange estate with employees from Coop food stores and members of Riddlesden Cricket Club.

“The footpath now provides an excellent link to a wider network of public rights of way and we hope it will also provide a safer route to school for the children attending St Mary’s.”

Marie McCool from the Coop said: “It was a lovely day and we are grateful the Coop has the opportunity to help make things happen in the community.”

Email admin@keighleybiglocal.org.uk to get involved.”