There’s no limit to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.
We love hearing your stories: your memories, your thoughts and the moments you’re most proud of.
From extreme cycle challenges to creative writing, our readers continually remind us that age is no limitation when it comes to making a difference or achieving your dreams. Here are just a few of our favourite stories.
Steve Day is an avid walker and traveller. Just over two years ago he decided to up sticks from his cottage in the North Pennines and explore the wider world on foot, taking a rucksack containing the bare essentials and a tablet, on which he documents his experiences in a blog. His ambition was to reach the Rio Dão in Portugal – slowly.
Steve says his motivation is hard to explain: ‘Let’s just say having spent some years stilling the mind and responding to the heart, and having all my life loved walking in nature, it just felt right to wander. The pilgrim route combines walking and meditation in a special way.’
Steve’s desire to explore, learn about foreign culture, experience the hospitality of new people and new countries, gain perspective and eat amazing food is all documented in his fascinating blog, wd.portugal.blogspot.co.uk which he updates frequently with stunning photography and inspiring words.
A blog is a great way to share your passion with the world, or just to keep a diary of what you’re up to. They are simple to set up through sites such as Wordpress, Blogger and Blogspot. Make sure you share it with us when you’ve started writing.
On the campaign trail
When Fran Cossey retired she didn’t want to put her feet up; instead she got involved in politics and fundraising.
‘I always take the view that if you care enough about something, you should keep fighting for it,’ she says, ‘I met many interesting people while campaigning. Some people told me they thought they were “past it” at 70-plus, but how wrong can they be? My aim was to convince them that there is so much out there for them to live for.’
As well as keeping her brain active, Fran tries to stay fit and healthy. ‘My husband and I are members of a rambling group,’ she says. ‘It’s not just about being outside, enjoying the weather – it’s about engaging with other walkers.’
When Nicola Leach was planning her wedding to her partner Stu, there was one family member she knew wouldn’t be able to make the trip to London.
Her Grandma Jean had moved into a care home in Devizes, Wiltshire four years earlier, after developing dementia. ‘Taking her out of the care home is unsettling for her,’ says Nicola, ‘but I couldn’t accept that she wouldn’t be a part of our special day.’ So Nicola and Stu decided to take the celebration to Grandma Jean and organise a second wedding at the care home.
‘My mum organised the flowers and balloons with the care home manager, and Grandma Jean helped to make a cake,’ said Nicola. ‘They even organised a photographer for us. Staff decorated one of the social rooms beautifully, and invited staff and residents.
‘Myself and my sister, who was my bridesmaid, dressed up in all our finery as if it was the real deal.
‘My great uncle, who couldn’t make the London wedding either, walked me down the aisle, and my paternal grandma came over from Bristol.
‘We got to share a whole second celebration, and Stu and I got to feel like a prince and princess all over again.’
Wheels of fortune
Ken MacLennan had done a bit of cycling, but seriously got the bug when he moved to London and found it was the best way to commute.
Twenty years ago, Ken, now 79, was given a leaflet about a charity cycle ride in Israel to raise money for a hospital in Nazareth. ‘The hospital does an excellent job helping those of all religions and I was thrilled to be able to make a difference,’ he says.
Ken’s first fundraising cycle was in 1997 and since then he’s completed the ride seven times and raised a whopping £32,000. His latest adventure involved a team of 15 covering 250 miles over five days. ‘I remember cycling down the Jordon valley and catching a glimpse of the Sea of Galilee,’ he says. ‘The final climb into Nazareth was tough, but the joyful and appreciative welcome made us realise how greatly the sponsorship is valued.’
Ken’s advice to anyone thinking about taking part in a similar event would be: ‘Just have a go. You’re bound to meet new people, and it generates a wonderful camaraderie.'