About If Ginger …

Why Ginger? And what can she do?

Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred AstaireThis 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?

Jane's pictureI 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.

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