Wellingborough pensioners prove age is just a number

Could you abseil down the lift tower in Northampton? We're not sure we could.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 10:46 am
Graham and Mary have a combined age of 148.

But Wellingborough's Graham Griggs and Mary Jenkins did just that - with a combined age of 148.

The pair are both members of Golden Years, a group set up in 2017 by Meg Neilan to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly.

And as part of the group's second anniversary celebrations earlier this month Graham (71), Mary (77), Meg and Meg's auntie Cathie Johnson all abseiled down the iconic 127m structure.

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L-R: Mary, Graham, Meg and Cathie.

Between 15 and 20 other group members, as well as Mary's daughers, were also on hand to support them from the ground.

Meg, who runs the group as a volunteer, said it proved age is just a number.

She said: "It was the first time they had ever abseiled but it was such an achievement.

"Everyone did so, so well."

Meg and Graham abseil down the lift tower.

Golden Years was created to provide support for people between 65 and 90 through a weekly friendship group as well as excursions and events.

Since the group’s launch members have taken part in an indoor skydive, cocktail making, wing walking, a roller disco, supercar driving, a trip to Ascot and walked over the O2 arena in London.

They are already planning another wing walk and hope to slide down the Orbit Tower next to the Olympic Park.

Meg, 32, said: "Everyone has been through some kind of tragedy and it's very easy to become lonely.

"What we want to do at Golden Years is not only encourage them to get out and make new friends but to embrace life.

"We've seen a number of people with a newfound confidence."

The group has almost 50 members with trips selling out.

It's been a huge success with numbers swelling to capacity.

Meg added: "It's been incredible, I am so proud.

"I would never have imagined it would be this well-received."