Community celebrates contributions of elderly as part of Older People’s Day
PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 October 2015
Generations young and old teamed up for a special day of activities themed around an annual celebration.
Schoolchildren, fitness instructors and others got involved with this year’s Older People’s Day, which took place on Thursday.
The occasion coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.
Youngsters from Glade Primary School, Atherton Road, Clayhall, forged their own community spirit through welcoming some special guests.
Residents from Birchwood Residential Care Home, Clayhall Avenue, popped down to enjoy a range of activities with the pupils.
These included traditional games from the residents’ childhoods, dressing up and telling tales of life during the Second World War.
Glade teaching assistant Sue Goldman said: “It was fantastic and very interesting for the children.
“I have been to the care home since and they all had a brilliant time.”
The Panjabi Centre, Ley Street, Ilford, also got involved, hosting a special yoga class.
Case study: Fauja Singh
The idea of tackling a marathon is one to strike fear in even the fittest of people and certainly not one to enter our minds as we reach our twilight years.
But 104-year-old Fauja Singh took up running at the ripe old age of 89 and began a journey which would see him become the world’s oldest marathon runner and a member of the Order of the British Empire.
The Goodmayes resident, born in India, retired from marathon running in 2013, but still enjoys jogging.
Talking about why he took up the sport, he said: “It was to have a new purpose for living, having lost three members of my family in quick succession.
“The distraction of running while helping others made it enjoyable as it allowed a simple, uneducated poor farmer like me to see the world and meet so many lovely and important people.
“I was sad when my coach [Harmander Singh], and my family decided it was best for me to retire, but I respect my coach as he has brought me to where I am.”
Fauja’s incredible story is the focus of a new Redbridge Museum exhibition, Marathon Man, featuring a specially-commissioned film and display of his awards.
He said: “I am somewhat amused, surprised, happy and honoured all at the same time, because museums are usually about relics and I am still alive and well.
“But I am very pleased if it results in others being inspired.”
Fauja, whose highlights have included meeting the Queen twice, hopes his story will encourage others.
“You must never use age as an excuse to stop doing good things,” he said. “By staying active, you will be able to enjoy life to the fullest.”
For more on Marathon Man, visit redbridge.gov.uk.
Case study: Ron Jeffries
Ron Jeffries’ passion for photography blossomed during his career in magazines and he has not looked back since.
The 82-year-old can often be seen with a camera in his hand, capturing beautiful sights around Aldborough Hatch and wider Redbridge.
The Aldborough Hatch Defence Association chairman, of Spearpoint Gardens, is also a firm supporter of St Peter’s Church, Aldborough Road.
Telling of his first foray into the hobby, Ron said: “After I did National Service in Aldborough Hatch in 1968 I became involved in Scouting and edited its national magazine for 11 years.
“Like most charities, we were short of money and couldn’t really afford to employ photographers so I had to do a lot of my own photographs and that’s really how it all started.”
Ron’s photography continued over the 19 years he edited national dairy magazine Milk Industry, with one encounter fresh in his mind.
“One of the most amusing things was there were a lot of people misusing milk crates, using them outside their shops and so on.
“One newspaper seller outside King’s Cross station had a pile and was selling his newspapers from them.
“I started taking pictures of him and he chased me down the road, but fortunately I managed to run faster!”
Ron enjoys taking photographs of his garden and the church and sells his own festive cards every Christmas.
His two sons are both photographers – the youngest a professional living in Norway, the eldest a solicitor and amateur photographer.
Ron always makes sure to seek feedback from his youngest: “When I have pictures published in the Recorder I always send them to him – sometimes he thinks they are reasonably good!”
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