Call us now on

0800 201 4811

Inspirational Generation – stories of exploration

Mark Gale

Mark Gale

Author

Lifestyle

Here we put the spotlight on two retirees whose hobbies have taken them on trips all over the world.

Golfing took me across the globe

John Pritchard lives at our Blyton House development near Marlow. Upon retirement, John’s love of golf and travel led to an interesting new venture taking fellow golfers around the globe.

‘I retired in 1993 and needed to do something to interest myself. My daughter luckily introduced me to Saga Holidays where I worked for six or seven years, taking their clients overseas to exotic locations; Borneo, South Africa, Thailand, the States – many places I’d never visited. I used to take groups of up to 24 to each of these places where they would stay in the central hotel playing golf, and then for the periods where they weren’t playing golf I would arrange for activities and places to visit that were of interest to all parties.’

John later started getting clients himself, after Saga Holidays decided the venture wasn’t making enough money.  

‘I got my own groups of people together, and continued going round the world playing these golf games in exotic locations, and I finally gave it up when my golf got pretty poor, and the others were getting older, but we still wanted the good things so I started doing holidays to Ecuador and South America, and that was great fun.’

I trekked Mount Kilimanjaro in the eighties

Shirley McKiernon’s life has been a series of accidents. From becoming a teacher, to trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, to passing her advanced driving test at age 92!

‘After getting into teaching by accident, I had kids who weren’t behaving well and decided to take them into the mountains to improve their behaviour. But Health & Safety was coming in so I took my Mountain Leadership course. I was one of the first women to do it - that was 40 years ago. There were only ever men on the course, but now look how many females are mountaineering.

I later took my Winter Snow and Ice Climbing course, which allowed me to take youngsters all over the world. I took them to the source of the Ganges and I got them all sat there for a photograph, where 20 people had lost their life. You should see how it moved them.

I also went up Mount Kilimanjaro in the eighties. The most amazing thing was that I took five asthmatics. There were other leaders on this group of 21, but the five asthmatics got to the top, every one of them, because they knew how to breathe when you’re short of breath. The rest of us took three steps forward and had to rest. I’m so lucky to be able to have done that. It led me to lots of other things, and it helped my remedial youngsters no end.’

After years of teaching and mountaineering, Shirley retired but ended up starting a new career as a travel tour manager, taking her to all corners of the globe.

‘I was very lucky because Saga Holidays approached me to work for them when I retired, and they turned me into a Long Haul Tour Manager which meant I went across the world, to Egypt outwards, so I went to China, India and America. They never sent me on the same tour twice. Well on one occasion they put me on a half boat, half inland tour. I always had a guide with me, speaking the language, so there were people looking after me.

On one occasion we were travelling in Thailand and Singapore on a boat, and the boat caught fire. The flames were about 20 metres from us, big flames, but when I went down to the boat below us, they had inhaled all the paint, so when we were rescued by a freight boat with only 17 people on it, a huge boat, I took my little first aid kit and went up to help.  A couple of people had burnt the tips of their fingers trying to push the boat.

When we landed on the Malacca Straights, I wanted to kiss the ground like the pope, to think we got over it. I’d lost all Saga’s money, all my beautiful dresses and gowns, I had nothing whatsoever. But Saga looked after us for a week and took us everywhere. They treated us like kings and queens.’

It’s not just travel and mountain expeditions that have kept Shirley busy. She still works part-time and passed her Advanced Driving Test at age 92.

‘I work for Nationwide, it’s a little part-time job and all my paperwork has got Department of Transport on it. My job is to organise the people and where they’re going. Because I need to be able to drive, and at my age people worry about their driving, I used to go to the AA and get them to check I was at normal driving standards. But when I came here, with more time on my hands, I decided I’d take my Advanced Driving, so I joined and I passed two months ago. I was amazed when I passed it because it’s the Police who normally take it. I was just amazed, and the instructor said “Aren’t you going to say anything?” and I said “I’m flabbergasted because I didn’t think I’d pass”. They had one person who passed at 92, but not many do go for it at this age.’

Are you a member of the inspirational generation? Watch our video starring John and Shirley:

 

 

Tell us your inspirational story to be in with the chance of winning £2,000!*
Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 Recipes For A Royal Wedding

We look into the perfect recipes to pair with a royal wedding. We've picked out the most delicious, as well as the quintessentially British for the special occasion! ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more

Lifestyle

How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more

Lifestyle

How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more

Lifestyle

Return of the Spider Plant

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more

Lifestyle

What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more

Lifestyle

Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more

Lifestyle

GrandFest

Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more

Lifestyle

40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more