Why Ginger? And what can she do?
This website could so easily have been called “How to Cope With Being Really Old and Clapped-out.com”, or “SeniorsRus.com” or “Its All Downhill Now.com”. It was early days in the conception of the website, and my head was buzzing with ideas when, literally in the middle of the night, I came up with “If Ginger can do it”. A few days earlier, someone from one of my exercise classes had sent me an e-mail with a video clip attached. I would, she said, appreciate it, as it was Ginger Rogers, aged 92, and her great grandson, dancing together.
That video clip had been bouncing around all over the world for a while, in the way things do on the internet. When I saw it I was astonished, and immediately sent it to several more people . I watched it over and over, examining it closely, asking film-maker friends to look at it, to see if it was a clever hoax. As I soon discovered online, it was indeed a kind of hoax. Ginger Rogers never made it to 92: she died in 1995 aged 83, more’s the pity.
If it wasn’t Ginger in the amazing video, then who was it? To my mind, it was still someone very impressive dancing that fantastic dance. It turned out to be Sarah Paddy Jones. After another 18 months of phone calls, messages and re-arranged appointments, I finally cuaght up with Paddy Jones and found out a good deal more about this remarkbale woman. Click here to watch Paddy in action in that video. Then click here find out a lot more about her life and her dancing.
Well, as I had suspected, Paddy wasn’t 92, She was, at the making of the video, a mere 74 years old. But I defy you to be anything other than bowled over by what she is doing. And that’s why I thought Paddy Jones /Ginger was so perfect for the website. Because if this website is about anything, it is about celebrating long life, life lived to the full, resolutely keeping on having fun and sharing that fun with others.
I have hopes that if people like what happens here, we might create something bigger together. A place that helps to raise the bar for older people. Voices that challenge the myths and perceptions of how people’s lives become smaller and more closed-in as we age. Voices that air the issues, dilemmas and priorities that dominate the last third of a long life, voices that strengthen the case for greater respect, opportunities and new perspectives on older age.
They did it
In this section of the website you’ll find stories which should encourage, entertain and inspire you. Share them with others. And get in touch if you have your own inspiring story, or you know someone else whose tale merits a place here.
Roger Allsopp is the oldest man to have swum the English Channel
Pamela Rodger got in training so she could climb up Big Ben to watch the clock strike midday
Charlie Williams has been sprinting all his long life, and he’s not stopping yet
.… and who am I?
I am Jane Taylor, a writer and fitness trainer, dedicated to working on fitness for health for older people. I used to be a newspaper journalist, but events got in the way of my best-laid plans, and at the turn of the millennium I decided to embark on the series of qualifications that would equip me to work with over-50s, using exercise and activity training to improve quality of life, reduce pain and maintain independence. Click here for more info about me as a trainer.
Through that work, I became increasingly aware of the bigger picture of post-retirement life and how much change we need to bring about in society to sustain good health and happiness in later life. I’m not the only one to have realised this! Many initiatives are starting to emerge, and as far as I’m concerned, the more the better. This is just my piece of the jigsaw.
This website has taken a lot longer than it should have to get up and running. I feel a debt of thanks to those who made sure it did, one way and another. Sabrina Aaronovitch has taken most of the photos on the site, as well as freely giving ideas, enthusiasm and support. Clare Holt made all the videos and supplied tips, advice, encouragement and tellings-off. Later Life Training has been a key resource for me and I am hugely grateful to the inspirational people there for setting me on my current life-course. My mum has been a very tolerant guinea-pig. All the initial contributors have donated their time, stories and wisdom. Special thanks to Paddy Jones, who at 79 has a spark of magic that warms the world.