Skip to content

Dancing is in Alan Beattie's blood. He's been tripping the light fantastic for more than 70 years, and at 78, he shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Alan - who lives near Thirsk in North Yorkshire, was, he admits, 'a typical Billy Elliot. I was at dance school for 7 years before my Dad found out. Even when he did find out, he never ever saw me dance.

'My mum used to pay for my lessons and that made me more committed and I've kept going with it ever since.'

And that sums up Alan's motto in life: 'You have to just keep going.'

Find local events and social groups at your Age UK

On being happy

Alan now teaches dance and exercise classes at Age UK Yorkshire.

Below he tells us what makes him happy and how dancing can change your life - at any age.

Alan Beattie on being happy

Alan Beattie on being happy

Alan Beattie, 78, talks about the key to happiness.

More Love later life wisdom

Alan Beattie - getting moving

Alan Beattie - getting moving

Alan Beattie, 78, talks about the importance of staying active.

More Love later life wisdom

What else keeps Alan busy?

What with all his dancing, you'd have thought Alan's life would be pretty full, but he still finds time to go all medieval.

'I'm still the chairman of the International Jousting Association and I have a pommel horse at home, where I teach people to fall off their horse backwards. We charge at each other with large sticks - lances - in our hands.'

And it's definitely not for the faint-hearted. 'The first time you do it your throat goes dry and you think "Why am I sat here with a stick in my hand?" And somebody's coming towards you at anything up to 30mph.'

In fact, Alan's jousting skills have taken him far and wide - although not without injury.

'I was on the set of Lord of the Rings on North Island, New Zealand. My lance hit a tree and my helmet got caught and I did the proverbial backwards somersault. Up to that point I'd been OK, but I don't like getting thumped any more.'

Donate to Age UK

Together we can help older people make the most of later life

Donate now

Join 40,000 others and subscribe to our information-packed fortnightly newsletter

We want to make sure that all those in, or approaching later life, have the opportunity to enjoy their retirement.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

Was this helpful?