A woman from Barking, Essex, who was born in the same year as Hollywood legend James Stewart and has vivid memories of both World Wars, has taken her first Tai Chi lesson on UK Older People’s Day.
Lillian Twinley, aged 106, is a former dinner lady who resides in Harp House, a Hanover ExtraCare housing estate in Barking. She was joined by her friends and neighbours from Harp House on the estate’s bowling green which was transformed into an outside Dojo. The combined age of the six participants was 543!
The martial arts class was just one of a number of events that Hanover, the national housing provider, hosted throughout the country on Older People’s day — created to celebrate how active and happy later years can be.
Great-great grandmother Lillian says: ‘I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first. Before the lesson my great-grandchildren were teasing me about doing the box splits and roundhouse kicks just like Bruce Lee.
‘I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that our instructor taught us some gentle breathing and movement exercises which was interesting and exhilarating.’
Since moving to Harp House from respite care in April 2005 Lillian hasn’t looked back she regularly goes dancing and attends quiz nights in the residents lounge.
She adds: ‘With a fantastic lounge, restaurant, hair salon and bowling green there is quite simply no where else I would rather be.’