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Latest LaterLife Challenge News

Well done Annie Makepeace who is our LaterLife Challenge 2014 Winner. Click here to find out what made her a winner as well as finding out what the regional winners have been doing to make the most of their retirement.

Challenge Shortlist here
Norma is a Puppy Walker
The Time Has Come!
Get Your Entry in Now!
Things are Hotting up for the Challenge
Valerie Singleton Helps Us Find People, Making The Most Of Retirement
Fabulous Challenge stories, let's hear yours
Have you entered the Challenge yet?
Summer has picked up - and so have entries
Meet Kath, Karoline and Carole who have already entered
Help encourage others
Find out what the Harvey's have been up to
Prizes Announced
Valerie Singleton joins the Judges

Norma is a Puppy Walker

We are receiving quite a few last minute entries to the Laterlife 2014 Challenge and a big thank you to everyone who is willing to share their retirement and semi-retirement experiences to help others make the most of their later years.

Guide Dogs for the Blind have always been of interest to us and we were therefore delighted to receive an entry from Karen Cornforth in Yorkshire nominating her mother Norma Harrison in the Laterlife Challenge.

Norma was already making the most of her retirement years with a lot of voluntary work. This included setting up a local youth club in the village of Weaverthorpe, being Chair of the local Country Women’s Association and also helping with the local Scarborough Maritime Museum.

But that wasn’t enough and Norma then decided to help the Guide Dogs for the Blind with the job of puppy walking.

Puppy walking is a crucial part of Guide Dogs' work and while it is done on a voluntary basis, it takes lot of time, commitment and love. Walkers like Norma play a
vital role in the early socialisation and education of guide dogs. At about six weeks of age, puppies start their early training, remaining with the walker until they are around one year old, at which point they are transferred to a training centre to begin their specialised training.

The aim of puppy walking is to produce a puppy that is socially well behaved, friendly and responsive to the handler. It is also important that the puppy is at ease in all environments, including town conditions, is relaxed and confident when using all types of transport and learns an acceptable standard of behaviour on the lead. As each puppy is an individual, Guide Dogs staff advise on the best way to achieve good results and the most appropriate time to introduce the puppy to these new environments.

It really is a huge commitment although so worthwhile of course. Norma is now walking her third puppy for Guide Dogs and perhaps talking about her Laterlife Challenge entry here will inspire others to get involved.

Enter here

The Time Has Come!

Our major Laterlife Challenge 2014 closes at the end of this week - you have just time to give us brief details of what you or a colleague are doing in retirement or semi-retirement. Your entry may well help to inspire others and there is also a chance of winning some exciting prizes; so why not fill in the form right now - it will only take a few minutes?

Already here at Laterlife we have been hugely impressed by the breadth of activities and the underlying optimism and energy from so many of this year’s entries. Having fun, learning new skills, helping others and experiencing new adventures - they all come together to show that baby boomers of the past are overcoming many problems and obstacles and are really making the very most of their current lives.

What is fascinating is that there are so many different ways to make the most of our retirement years.

Margaret Morgan-Owen from Buckingham has had her book of poetry published both in print and also on line. Her book, Are There Sardines in the Tree, describes the journey through her husband Alasdair’s dementia, and has led to involvement in a range of local art and charitable areas including her local Alzheimer’s Society.

Now well into his 70s, Eric Hunt from Warwickshire had to change his lifestyle and move to a small retirement bungalow. But retirement was a word Eric was determined to redefine. He found an old wartime RAF bomber base near to his new home and became involved. One thing led to another and he tried his hand at flying microlights, making a lot of new friends including his instructor Simon Baker. Now Eric has achieved over 30 hours flying in a flexwing aircraft and is now moving on to a fixed wing aircraft.

Scotland’s Hazel Grant decided retirement was the time to pursue her long time interest in big cats and who knows where this experience might take her next. Here is her story......
I have always been interested in big cats and after retiring recently decided to go on a VIP Tour to The Big Cat Sanctuary near Ashford in Kent. This is a charity run organisation with only ten paid staff and lots of volunteers. My husband and I were made very welcome and signed a safety mandate before starting the tour.

There are around 50 different cats, all named and in very clean and spacious compounds. The cats are from all over the world, some are part of current breeding programmes, some will be released back into the wild and others will live out their lives at the Big Cat Sanctuary. They appeared to be very contented animals.

As part of the Tour, I was given the opportunity to hand feed five different cats and this certainly was an exciting new experience for me. I was given a chicken leg and held it out through the fence to the tiger who got up on his hind legs (towering above me) and gently took it from me and enjoyed the snack!

It was an absolutely fantastic and memorable experience and we were very impressed with the place and the commitment of the staff and the volunteers.

Enter here

Get Your Entry in Now!

This is it. Just a couple more weeks and our LaterLife 2014 Challenge will close to entries. If you haven’t entered yet, why not quickly give us details of what you are doing with your life now you are retired or semi retired? It is so easy to enter and you might inspire others to make the most of their later years plus there are some terrific prizes on offer.

Mike Higgins of Shrewsbury has sent in the shortest entry yet to our 2014 Challenge - but that doesn’t mean he isn’t really making the most of LaterLife!
Two years ago Mike walked - or strolled as he put it - from England to Italy and, getting to grips with new technology, has not only written a blog about it; but has made it totally professional with inserted pictures, maps, graphs and a host of great information that brings to life his journey across England, France, Switzerland and Italy.

If you would like to read about Mike’s wonderful journey, then visit his blog.
But be sure to use the top left navigation buttons to move to where you want on the blog.

One entrant to the Challenge clearly supports the LaterLife concept of making the most of our later years. Eileen Mitchell from Warwickshire decided her retirement was going to be a golden opportunity! And she was determined to make it happen. Here is an extract from her entry.....


“My advice for anyone about to retire is get out of the rut!

I retired in 2003 having lived all my life in the industrial North and worked as a teacher for 40 years. Everyone I knew was involved in education and I wanted freedom and space. Within four months we had downsized to a bungalow on the edge of the Cotswolds with a large garden for my husband to potter and keep chickens . There was a small summer house where, knowing no one ,I intended to write a book or three!

However, having seen the film Calendar Girls, I went to a meeting of the local W.I within a few days of moving in and the rest is history !I was hooked ; I joined the book group ,the drama group ,the walking group ,the wine group and eventually the committee ,finally becoming President. My husband had a similar experience by joining the Gardening Club.

After 11 years I think I know everyone in our small town , at least by sight. Going to the local store for milk often takes all morning as I meet so many people. Needless to say I never wrote a book ,in fact we pulled down the summer house and created a rose arbor.

Do I miss friends and family in the north? Well I send Christmas cards but have never been back.

So turn your back on the past and enjoy the Good Life.”


The latest venture for Eileen is learning bridge!

You don’t need to be doing amazing things to be making the most of your retirement years; everyone has different health, different ambitions and different opportunities. But your story may well help inspire others in similar situations...enter now, we would love to hear from you.

Enter here

Things are Hotting up for the Challenge

Entries are coming in from all over now as the final weeks of the 2014 Laterlife Challenge draw to a close.

You still have time to enter, or encourage friends to enter - remember we are not necessarily looking for spectacular activities (although they do provide fabulous photographs!!). But the overall winner will be someone who really is making the most of their retirement years and this could be a mix of great activities or more mundane but new ventures that perhaps help others or bring self motivation and satisfaction.

But talking of spectacular photographs, it will take a bit to beat this shot from entry Pete Robertson. Wow! Pete is a retired projected manager and really is determined to make the most of his later years! Simple walking was not enough for Pete, and he has now set himself a challenge to do the Munros - a group of mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet. There are 282 mountains in this group, and Pete has already completed 215. As he lives on the south coast of England this is not an easy challenge!

He has also followed up his love travel but joining various container ships across the world to New Zealand - this included lots of adventures such as going through the Panama Canal and encountering the Royal Navy in the Red Sea.

On a more intellectual level, Pete has increased his casual interest in archaeology to a full degree course and has now achieved a Master of Research in Archaelology with Distinction. Through his interest in Iron Age hill forts he has had training at excavation and has now joined a team working on a hillfort in North Wales. He has also become involved in SCUBA diving with a great diving trip to the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda.

Enter here

Valerie Singleton Helps Us Find People Across The UK Who Are Making The Most Of Their Retirement Years

Have you entered our Laterlife Challenge yet? It closes at the end of next month, so there is still time to tell us what you are doing in later life and win some great prizes.

And your entry may well help others too who are finding the transition between a full working life and full or semi retirement difficult. Learning what others are doing can help bring new ideas and attitudes.

Which is why we are so lucky that Valerie Singleton has agreed to be our chief judge.

Valerie is an exceptional inspiration on how to manage our later years. Leaving work, with its routine, and friendships, is a massive change for anyone. For someone in the public eye this could be especially challenging.

For many many years Valerie was a household name across the country. Her TV programme Blue Peter was an essential part of childhood for generations of children in the 1960s, at times attracting over 8 million viewers. That accounted for almost every child in the country!

Today Valerie still gets recognised by so many of our generation, not only for her Blue Peter activities, but for her continuing tv programmes, her writing and additional business activities. She continues to undertake new challenges and works ceaselessly in a range of areas, including helping with Simplicity Computers to bring simple affordable systems to people who find modern technology challenging.

Valerie has been awarded an OBE for her work and we are delighted she has agreed to help us find people in the UK who can act as examples for others on how to make the best of their retirement years.

You don’t need to be doing exceptional things...we are looking for people who, through perhaps taking up new interests, have adapted to the challenge of part and full time retirement.

Just send us a brief overview of what you have been doing - with some photographs if possible.... and who knows, you could be the Laterlife Challenge 2014 winner!

Enter here

Fabulous Challenge Stories: What's Yours?

We are receiving some fabulous entries to the Laterlife Challenge and all of them show that today, retirement really can be the start of a brand new era in one’s life.  Entries are coming in from a wide range of ages, from early 50s to late 80s, all showing that despite very different situations, there are always things we can do to ensure our later years are enjoyable and really worthwhile.

Do let us know what you are up to. It doesn’t have to be dramatic in anyway but knowing how others are handling their later years can be enormously helpful and often inspirational to others. So many find the transition from full time work to retirement surprisingly challenging.

Cheltenham’s Brian Jenner is one person who isn’t worried about retirement. Stopping work at 58, he is full on with a wide range of activities and interests.
His involvement in the Scouting movement (he is an assistant Scout leader) and his local Church take up a lot of his time; but it doesn’t stop there. He now welcomes foreign students into his house and grows food and flowers for everyone’s enjoyment.  But his entry to the Laterlife Challenge was supplemented by some fascinating pictures that gave more insight into his activities.

Brian Jenner at Dobre about to break up old concrete floor

This picture was taken at the Arocha centre at Dobre in Czech Republic. Arocha is a Christian Ecological organisation. I had been breaking up an old concrete floor (hence the mask) in preparation for laying a new one with drains and new doorways in the cellar boiler house. During this visit I looked after the centre alone over the weekend as the centre managers were running a youth camp away in the mountains.

Brian and Sue Jenner preparing BBQ

The B.B.Q. Is at our Church Fete for missions and charities. My wife Sue and I do this together. At this event Sue is the organiser and I do the cooking including making the charcoal. 

Brian Jenner in Scout Leader uniform at Dobrushka scout hut

While at the Czech Arocha centre in Dobre I cycled to the nearby town Dobrushka where our Scouts had been emailing a Scout there. I exchanged badges and Scouting magazines.

Brian Jenner planting a cherry tree at Kruprana

This is planting a cherry tree at Kruparna the Dobre centre.

Have you entered the Challenge yet?

A lot of people have but we are still looking for new entries, so why not click on this link and let us know how you are making the most of your retirement years?

We are not necessarily looking for sensational activities; previous winners have been stars in their local area, helping others and finding really fulfilling lives with their home based hobbies. But of course we are also getting great entries from people who have decided retirement really is the time to undertake adventures they have never been able to consider earlier in their working lives.

Buckinghamshire couple Bill and Kath Leftwich are prime examples here. After a lot of planning they really did decide to drop everything and head off, not just for an exotic holiday, but for a full trip right around the world. Here is their story....

“I am 67 years old and my wife 65. I retired in mid-2011 and my wife and I decided to see some of the places that we had wanted to visit, never had the time and a long way away. We wished to do this whilst we were still very active, wanted some new experiences and discoveries. We had previously visited the far east several times, China, Japan, Vietnam etc together with my work so spent a year planning a three month Asia trip.

So, in January 2013 we set off with around the world tickets flying to Los Angeles but adjusting to the time zone. After two days we flew across the Pacific to spend 5 days in Fiji and stayed in a lovely resort mostly manned by local people. We visited their simple visit a short walk away and discussed their life, education and life as a pre-British colony with the local head man. Watched the women standing waist deep in the sea catching their supper and enjoyed that with them. Then onward to New Zealand where we hired a camper van and drove around both islands in 6 weeks seeing the wonderful scenery and enjoying the slow pace of life. Saw some old friends and too many adventures to detail. Then on to Australia where we went wine blending with friends in Oz, wining, eating and dancing in our travelling clothes !! A further week in Melbourne was wonderful and drove down the Pacific Highway built by Aussie soldiers returning from the war.

Onward to our next stop, Bali, where we stayed in Ubud in a fantastic hotel in ancient converted ruins run by the Royal family. The 8 days was a really enjoyable cultural experience. Then on to Borneo for 7 days where we spent 2 nights in the jungle canoeing in crocodile infested rivers and seeing the monkeys playing at the end of our canoe and the wonderful wildlife. Also a trip on the Borneo steam railway built originally in England!! Our final 10 days was in Vietnam where we had no reserved hotels. A superb way to end our trip visiting Saigon, Hue with its temples and, finally Hanoi with its French culture, wonderful people and incredible sites. A two day visit to Halong Bay, staying on a junk and visiting several of their 3000 islands said to have risen out of the sea to protect them from the sea dragon.

Again, too many stories to relate... Finally home via Hong kong with memories to last a lifetime. Not sure if we will be fit enough to repeat but we are so glad that we took this opportunity to discover and enjoy other countries and cultures that we had never visited and to share these with our family and friends” .

Bill kept a daily log which is a great idea so that they can relive their memories. Here are just four entries and pictures from their big trip.........

Borneo - entering the Gomantong black caves where 2 million bats and 3 million swiftlets share the cave on alternate shifts, with the latter producing nests for exporting to China as "birds nest soup". We walked along a 300metre boardwalk amongst centipedes, cockroaches and bird/bat see the flimsy bamboo ladders to retrieve the nests. Then on to the Kinabatangan river to spend two nights in the jungle on a lodge on stilts and canoe to see the animals...marvellous.

In Bali, dressed in obligatory sarongs we descended the 315 steps to the fabulous 11th century Gunung Kawi temple built into the rockface with rivers and waterfalls descending into the jungle.

Driving down the Great Ocean Road in Australia built by soldiers returning from the second world war carved into the cliff-face with fantastic views of the coast, finally arriving at the famous "12 apostles" rock formation. Later, stopped on the road to see and photo koalas living in Eucalyptus trees at the side of the road!

In Hanoi, Vietnam aboard a junk taking us around the 300 islands of Halong Bay with visits to some of the largest limestone caves in the world. The locals believe that their god sent them these islands to protect them from the "sea-serpent" !! True or not this was a truly "awesome " experience in the final weeks of our world trip.

Summer has picked up - and so have entries into the 2014 Challenge

Have you entered yet? Just let us know what you are doing for yourself or for others. You may help others make more of their lives - and there is a chance to win some lovely prizes.

Why not enter right now?!

When you read all the bad news in the media, you can wonder what is going on with the world; so it is great to see all the fabulous things that the over 50s are doing with their lives and also for others.

Take Margaret Morgan-Owen for instance, who has entered the Challenge from Aylesbury in Bucks.

Here is her story:

“I retired from work to care for my husband who had Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia and died in January 2012. I have always written poetry and so this was the natural medium for me to use to express what was happening to us. My book of poetry describing our journey through Alasdair's dementia is called Are There Sardines in the Tree and has been published as an ebook and printed. From this foundation I am now giving readings, running poetry workshops, working mostly with Carers and more widely to raise awareness do dementia and the dilemmas facing Carers. I also run a writing group for Carers.

This is a complete change for me as I worked as an engineering buyer and also served on my local authority for a number of years. The work I am doing with my poetry is utterly different and very fulfilling and runs alongside my work as a volunteer for my local Alzheimer's Society and Carers Bucks.

Recently I completed a poetic tale for children for my local arts centre to compliment an arts project they are working on with local schools. It tells the story of a wood whose colour is stolen and how it's colour is restored. The piece is written so that can be performed.

Being able to now use my poetic ability is life changing for me as I have never had the time to write before and it is also very rewarding to be able to use my talent to help others.”

Margaret has used her talent for writing poetry to change her life and to help others, too.

Meet Kath, Karoline and Carole who have already entered.


Have you entered the Laterlife Challenge 2014?

There is still time to get your entries in - and apart from the chance to win some great prizes, don’t forget it is all in a very good cause as well. Telling us about what you are up to, your interests and how you are spending your time may help others to make the most of their retirement years.

Ideas on how to find fresh challenges and new interests in laterlife can be really helpful. And it is not all about exciting adventures and activities; helping out in local communities and charity work is just as important. We are interested in hearing about any new challenges or new learning skills. So do enter...and who knows, you might be one of the lucky ones who also wins a great prize.

To enter is quick and here...

Already we have had some great entries from right across the UK.

Here is Kath who has undertaken special walks and abseils to raise money for charity.

And above is Karoline who undertook the most amazing Nepalese adventure as well as doing lots of interesting new things at home.

Carole in South London has a wonderful story:

“My new job is as a sole trader in metal recycling. Although it is only on a small basis, it is still an income. I also love crafts and recently started a glass fusion class in Lewisham - and it is fantastic. I intend to fuse glass with leaves and different flora in, plus, painting on the glass and firing it to retain the pattern is something I am also working on. If only you could see the beautiful work that our tutor has produced, if I can produce something a quarter of the quality of her work, I will be more than satisfied.

Being a nature lover, looking at the bark of trees is fascinating, they are all different colours, shapes and textures, this is something else that would be good to recreate in the glass fusion.

Another pastime for me it helping two children with their reading and maths, plus collecting a dear little boy from school almost daily.

Another of my hobbies is flower pressing - not always the wisest choice for a hayfever sufferer. It has been known for me to get a pattern of pressed flowers arranged nicely - only to sneeze, and have to start again.

Life is really busy now and I wouldn't change a thing, because I am having such great fun. Life is what you make it, so it is important to make sure you are doing what pleases you, to stay happy. I think I am the happiest I have ever been.”

Thank you Kath, Karoline and Carole for sharing your stories with us. And now we look forward to getting your entry!

Don’t forget to encourage your friends as well to enter the Laterlife Challenge 2014!

Help encourage others by entering our LaterLife Challenge 2014.

The Laterlife Challenge 2014 is not all about the great prizes we have on offer; it is also about helping others understand what is available for retired people; new ideas and opportunities that they may not have considered to help make their retirement years the time of their lives.

Do you know there are more than 600,000 people over 60 in England alone now taking lessons in a whole range of subjects. The most popular cover areas such as languages, cookery, computer skills, traditional crafts, family history and photography; but we are also hearing of the over 60s taking lessons in ancient Greek and brick laying.

This is not just about gaining new skills. Good research shows that while our brains do slowly decline over time, some aspects of the brain remain capable of regrowth and learning something new can be really beneficial.

Are you learning something new? Let us know how you are doing; along with other ways you are filling the hours and days of your retirement. Encourage others to enter as well - entry is totally free.

We will shortly begin publishing details from some of the more interesting entries that are now coming in; but the more entries the better.

To enter, just complete our simple online entry form.

Enter the LaterLife Challenge Now!


Did you do something different last year? Could you be a role model for the over 50s?

If so, enter our Laterlife Challenge NOW!

Lots of Laterlife readers have - and already we are getting tales of derring-do and dedicated charity work and a host of other stories illustrating all the amazing things people over the age of 50 are now getting up to.

The Harvey’s completed an amazing trip up the east coast of South America.

Take the Harveys for instance. Both retired, they wanted to do something really special - a trip their son called “adventure before dementia!”

Already well travelled, they decided South America had to be the place and after a lot of internet research, the trip was on. They are recently back from the most amazing journey up and down the west coast of South America, with stunning shots and a host of amazing adventures that will last them forever.

Then there is the pensioner who was worried that her village shop had closed. With a lot of back ground work and effort, now a new community shop has opened in the village, staffed by volunteers and doing so well a cafe is now also opening for local residents.

And then....the stories just keep coming. But we are not just looking for the dramatic or unusual; we are looking for people who have done what they can to make the most of Laterlife. For some, this may well be taking up a new interest or a new area of research or study. Researching our ancestors is becoming more and more popular but needs dedication and skill to delve back in time. Learning a new language once you are passed 50 is very challenging. If you have managed to get a handle on a new language - let us know. Examples of the over 50s doing amazing things are everywhere - so get your entries in and help us obtain a real snapshot of the “new” older generations.

There are some great prizes on offer - and more being arranged now. And by entering you will be given free entry to our prize draw with a change to win a Kindle Fire.

Just complete the entry form.

LaterLife Challenge 2014 Valerie Singleton Involvement

It's time to enter the LaterLife Challenge 2014!

Have you done something that breaks the sterotypes of Laterlife? Whether it is a challenging activity (such as Sheila Martin below) or helping with a local charity...we really look forward to hearing your story.

Laterlife is once again running its exciting Laterlife Challenge, looking for people who are making the most of their retirement or partial retirement.

We want to hear about what people are doing to have fun, to help others, to improve their knowledge and skills - anything that demonstrates that retirement can be a new time for fulfilment.

We are asking for you to let us know, about what you have done that helps to show that laterlife can be the time of your life! If you know of a friend who is doing something unusual, or defying traditional age stereotypes, do let us know as well.

We want to hear all your stories, many of which will inspire others to make the most of their later lives as well.

We are lining up some great prizes for the winners of this year’s Challenge - and the judging will be led by Valerie Singleton who is a great inspiration of what can be done after “retirement”.

Valerie has had an exciting career, becoming a household name when she presented Blue Peter for the BBC. She then went on to become a top tv personality, presenting programmes such as Nationwide, Tonight, and the Money Programme as well as appearing on a range of travel and factual tv programmes.

Today she continues to work ceaselessly for a range of areas, including helping with Simplicity Computers to help bring simple affordable systems to people who find modern technology challenging.

Valerie has been awarded an OBE for her work and we are delighted she has agreed to help us find people in the UK who can act as an inspiration for others in how to make the best of their retirement years.

So...start the entries coming in now. Just send us a brief overview of what you have been doing - with some photographs if possible.... and who knows, you could be the Laterlife Challenge 2014 winner!

Enter the LaterLife Challenge here

Click here to see the 2014 Prizes

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