CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Reigate and Redhill YMCA's Ian Burks on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 15:32 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:24 20 February 2013

Reigate and Redhill YMCA's Ian Burks on his perfect Surrey weekend

Reigate and Redhill YMCA's Ian Burks on his perfect Surrey weekend

The CEO of Reigate and Redhill YMCA for the past 13 years, Ian Burks has walked, climbed, run and cycled many thousands of miles to help raise vital funds.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2012

The CEO of Reigate and Redhill YMCA for the past 13 years, Ian Burks has walked, climbed, run and cycled many thousands of miles to help raise vital funds. Married with three grown-up children, Ian and his family moved from Crouch End in London to Reigate over 11 years ago, and come the weekend, he can often be spotted getting in some training for his next challenge in the lovely local countryside

SUBSCRIBE to Surrey Life magazine
BUY SL online
DOWNLOAD the app

Weekends are pretty full on. Im either ferrying my kids to and from work, catching up with my wife, who Ive hardly seen all week, keeping up my fitness regime, or fighting back against the endless deluge of paperwork and e-mails.

Between now and September, we also have 11 fundraising events for the YMCA, which all take place over the weekend. These include the Brighton marathon, a trek across the South Downs, a sky dive and a canoe trip down the River Wye. Every year, the YMCA puts together an extensive programme of fully supported challenges, in which anyone can take part (you can find out more at

Fitness plays an important role in my free time. Depending on the event Im training for, Ill make a point of either going for a long run or putting in some time on my bike. Theres nothing like the breathtaking views from the North Downs to give you an exercise high. Its such a beautiful part of the country.

Im competitive by nature and constantly push myself to improve. The YMCAs Challenge Programme is all about tackling things that seem a bit scary and, as soon as I start thinking, Im not sure I can achieve that, it gives me the incentive to go out and train.

My wife Pam has endured many a bone-shaking mile on the back of our tandem, undertaking road cycle trips to Paris, La Rochelle and Gibraltar, to name just a few more out of support for me than genuine enjoyment! This year, my eldest son, Sam (21), will be raising money for the YMCA by cycling with us to Amsterdam, and Pam and I will get a big kick out of having him as a training partner.

A well-deserved rest
I usually crash out in the evenings but if we do fancy a night out with friends, one of our favourite places to eat is the Everest Spice restaurant in Redhill. Its an easy place to miss as they only have a tiny shop front but the Nepalese food is delicious, and the owner, Rosan, is one of our biggest supporters.

At weekends, I might catch up on the latest release at Reigate cinema. I like inspirational films with real meaning and two of my recent favourites have been 127 Hours and The Iron Lady. I love this cosy, unique local cinema as the manager is passionate about quality films and his enthusiasms contagious!

If you ask Pam, shed say Im pretty work-obsessed but shes learned to live with it and, being an ex-YMCA employee, she totally supports the YMCA and everything it stands for. I keep thinking I should do something about my work/life balance but I enjoy what I do immensely. The opportunity to take on our challenges is one of the perks of my job.

Its so important to raise the money thats needed to benefit some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in our community and it is very satisfying to see the results of those efforts. Last year, we raised 1 million to rebuild the Sovereign Centre in Reigate, creating a specialist facility for local disabled children and young people. Previously, in the east of the county, theres not been enough provision of this type of service and now we can start to redress the balance.

Its also very gratifying to see our Challengers, who perhaps werent previously active, test themselves both physically and emotionally and go on to get fit, have fun, make friends and raise funds to help others. It really can change the lives of all concerned.

  • The YMCAs vision is to help all local people, regardless of age or ability, to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle that challenges them to be the best they can be. To find out more about the Reigate and Redhill YMCAs Challenge Programme, visit or e-mail

More from Surrey Life


Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019.

Read more

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Year 5 pupils at Reigate St Mary’s School (RSM) who designed and carried out a community project as part of a UK wide Make a Difference Challenge, have won the London area competition for their stunning scrapbook record of their project

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Surrey this month

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search