Generations of Malmesbury residents have been meeting to tackle the county’s steepest hills in Nordic walking style.

Sessions of Nordic walking – a form of walking with poles – have been organised by former RAF airman Steve Ellis, from Malmesbury, since January 2011 and he now has a group of loyal followers.

Mr Ellis said: “I previously taught outdoor education but was made redundant and soon after that my daughter was born, so I wanted to spend my time supporting her mum and being with her.

“It’s all about getting people outdoors and getting exercise outside of the gym. Some people who come have never been to the gym.

“We can have as few as three or four in a group or as many as a dozen.

“Everybody has a really good time and feels great afterwards, which is what it’s all about.”

Mr Ellis, a qualified personal trainer, is embarking on a 102-mile trek later in the year to support the Molly Watt Trust.

He said: “Certain children are born deaf or blind. It happened to my nephew Jake, he was born deaf.

“The Molly Watt Trust raises money for sufferers for electronic reading devices so they have a better life. We support these kids, who are amazing. If I can raise £500 that would be brilliant.”

Mr Ellis will attempt to Nordic walk the entire length of the Cotswold Way with Molly Watt’s father in one go, which will take about 36 hours.

Nordic walking classes meet at Station Yard car park on Mondays and Thursdays at 7pm, on Saturday at 9am, and at Lydiard Park, Swindon, on Fridays at 12.15pm.

Introduction to Nordic walking courses are held monthly.