Innovation Project Manager Hamden Huggett has launched a new BSUH Hikers’ Society to encourage colleagues to swap going down the pub for going up the downs. The first walk on Sunday 27 January, 7.8 miles from Steyning to Devil’s Dyke, was a great success.
Hamden – his full name is Hamden-John the reverse, he says, of Oliver Cromwell’s cousin John Hamden – believes hiking is a great way to see people away from work and build friendships and networks.
“It’s great fun,” he says, “and a good way to share some down-time and do something more therapeutic than just going straight to the pub. You’re keeping fit, you’re out in the fresh air and there’s a great sense of space and freedom and connecting with the environment. At the end of each walk we’ll go to a pub for a well-earned drink and a chat.”
Hamden is a keen walker and remembers going on long hikes as a youngster. He’s completed scores of big hikes including the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand.
But his efforts take on even more significance because Hamden has Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy, a serious condition he describes as “the electrics in my heart don’t work”. He has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted in case he has a cardiac arrest.
“Walking is absolutely perfect for me,” Hamden says. “I took part in clinical trials last year and my fitness levels were quite low. So I’ve got a choice. I can increase my fitness with the risk of having an event and the defibrillator dealing with it, or I can let my fitness level drop and risk heart disease and heart failure when I’m older. I’ve got this defib fitted to help me live a normal life, and I’m going to live it.”
If you’d like to join Hamden on a walk - partners or a friend are welcome too – email Hamden-John.Huggett@bsuh.nhs.uk.