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.
Loading...
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

Christmas Decorating Tips 

To help make your home full of Christmas cheer, we’ve spoken to Claire Gibson, Head of Interior Design at McCarthy & Stone who’s provided her top Christmas decorating tips. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Tips for Successfully Downsizing

Many people find that later in life that their home is far bigger than they need. Downsizing can bring a variety of benefits, including both financial and practical ones. That said, it can often be an emotional or difficult time.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Remarkable UK Gardens for Autumn Colour 

Another season has flown by and now the summer heat has faded with the turn of autumn. With the cooler days and longer nights, our gardens are transforming into a rich tapestry of colour, from fiery reds and oranges to majestic golds. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Caring for House Plants 

From succulents to spider plants, the demand for indoor foliage is showing no signs of slowing down. No matter what the season, low maintenance house plants are ideal for brightening up the look and feel of a room. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Foraging Favourites

For many people, collecting and eating wild plants and fungi has been part of life since childhood, filling punnets with wild edibles from ripening berries to sweet chestnuts. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Spotlight on York

A city of extraordinary cultural and historical wealth woven into  every  brick and beam, York seeps history at every turn. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Summer Events in 2019 To Look Out For

The summer season is packed with a variety of events to appeal to a range of interests and ages. Savour the delights of new and exciting cuisine, enjoy the thrill of world-class horse racing and discover the latest super cars, at events taking place across the summer months.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

It's All Greek To Us

Sparkling white beaches, deep blue seas, sugar-cube villages and venerable ancient sites make the
Greek islands an idyllic holiday destination for many. Tourists can immerse in the Greek cuisine,
century-old sites and local culture each island has to offer, while enjoy luxurious accommodation
and the locals’ warm and welcoming hospitality. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Fishing for Fun

Looking for an exhilarating and challenging activity that brings a sense of serenity and calmness? We think we’ve found the perfect catch. ...Read more

Lifestyle

It’s time to start living life to the full again

A McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living Plus apartment is about getting more from life for the over 70s. It’s the perfect combination really - company when you want it, help when you could use it, care when you need it. And all in the comfort of your own stylish new home. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Staying Cool and Well During A Heatwave

Although warmer weather can be a welcome sight for many, the increased temperatures can lead to
added risks for some, particularly those with health issues or those that are more vulnerable. Stay well with these tips.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The History of Father's Day

Father’s Day is the perfect time to thank fathers and father figures for their help and support. In this post, McCarthy & Stone look at the history of Father’s Day. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A New Adventure 

Colin and Pat Mackay are looking forward to making the most of their retirement following their move to North Berwick.

...Read more

Lifestyle

The Benefits of Downsizing in Retirement

There are many benefits of downsizing and if this is something you are considering, here, we share our knowledge about downsizing, and explain why it could be one of the best things you can do for your retirement.   ...Read more

Lifestyle

Blooming Marvellous: The Chelsea Flower Show

The world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s the most glamorous day out in the gardening calendar.

The grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are once again blooming with flora as the Royal Horticultural Society prepares to welcome 157,000 spectators to their annual five-day flower festival in May. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Working After Retirement – Is It For You?

More and more people are choosing to put off their retirement and continue working. Plus, in many other cases, those who have already retired are looking to return to work. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of each situation. ...Read more

Lifestyle

How To Manage Your Diet In Retirement

There are many extra demands placed on our bodies as we progress through life and because of this our nutritional needs also change as a result. It is never too late to revamp your nutrition and nurture your body with a healthier diet.   ...Read more

Lifestyle

Tackling loneliness among older people with Pen Pals

We understand the problem of loneliness amongst older people and we want to do something to combat it. That’s why we have created our latest Pen Pals programme, an outlet to connect older people with other older people in communities by the writing and exchanging of letters. Click to find out more. ...Read more

Lifestyle

How To Make New Friends In Retirement

Friendship is hugely important at every stage in life, and retirement is no exception. What’s more, in retirement you could make the most of the extra free time you have to discover different experiences and meet new people – leading to new friendships and relationships.  ...Read more

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

Wally & The Flying Scotsman

Popular North Gate Court customer Wally Blazey moved into their McCarthy & Stone apartment with his wife Gladys seven months ago, and the couple have just celebrated their 72nd anniversary. At 92, Wally is one of the two last surviving drivers of the Flying Scotsman, the most famous steam locomotive in the world. ...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