I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 47. I was terrified. I was the BBC’s Green Goddess, the nation’s gym mistress. I felt desperately alone. John and I had separated a year before. I was on the crest of a wave with my campaign on BBC Breakfast: ‘Get Britain Fit’. Cancer happens to other people, we all know that. My thought at that moment was, ‘I don’t want my life to stop. I’ve got so much more I want to do. And the biggest thing at that moment was, ‘I want to see my boys with partners and I want to see some grandchildren.’
Today more and more people are on the move. But the huge increase in world travel, particularly long distance air travel, carries with it the potential health risk of a deep vein thrombosis commonly known as DVT. DVT was not previously recognised as a serious travel risk. However, it has now been proven to affect thousands of air travellers each year and can occur often in conjunction with an established illness or condition, where the natural tendency of the blood to clot is increased.
I knew I had married the wrong man in 1993 but I should have realised a lot sooner that he was not the perfect husband I thought him to be. For as I lay convalesing in our Dorset seaside home after breast surgery my 4 and a half year marriage to my second husband was to end abruptly with the publication in a national daily newspaper of details and photographs of him with his mistress.
The baby boomers, those people born immediately after the second world war, have grown up and joined the rapidly swelling ranks of the UK’s over 50’s. I was born at the start of the war in 1939, but by including myself in their number, I can state that being both over 50 and female, at this time in history, is exciting and a challenge.
At 19 I started working voluntarily with a charity for older people in Bristol. For the past 22 years I’ve been a member of Stage for Age, the show business arm of Help the Aged, and work voluntarily to raise funds and awareness of older people’s issues. We live longer these days, but we need to be as healthy as possible to enjoy those extra years, so the work of Help the Aged/Research into Ageing plays a vital role.