Our biggest festival yet

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

SATURDAY sees the fifth Ageing Well Torbay Festival this year being held at the Riviera Centre in Torquay.

It is the culmination of nearly a year’s hard work by a group of over 50-year-old volunteers who are confident that this will be their biggest and best yet.

The Ageing Well Torbay Festival is a celebration of ageing – aimed at over 50-year-olds, but open to everyone who wants to come along to see the best that the Bay has to offer.

As usual, there will be music, poetry, dance, information and talks and this year for the first time there will also be a fashion and wellbeing section aimed at the over 50’s with a catwalk, make-up and practical advice on offer.

Grandma Joyce Williams, the 83-year-old who took on This Morning’s Philip Schofield when he was unwittingly ageist will be formally opening the event in the Forum Hall at 11.30am before going on to give a talk on fighting ageism in Rosetor.

Joyce found fame in her 80’s when she decided to sign up for blogging lessons and accepted the challenge from her younger classmates to tackle the subject of sex and older people.

Her first blogs addressed the subject of sex in your sixties and others followed about sex in your seventies and sex in your 80’s before the mainstream media catapulted her into the headlines.

Since then she has led a Twitter campaign aimed at combatting ageism with the hashtag #ageproud which was picked up by the national campaigning charity, Ageing Better last month with pledges from council leaders and dignitaries around the country, including Torbay’s own lead councillor, Steve Darling.

Joyce isn’t the only star in the line up this year with former club circuit Vic Baulton coming out of retirement to host the entertainment throughout the day in the Forum Hall.

Among other well-known faces will be Lionel Digby who will be giving a talk looking back at the bands and artists that rocked the Bay during the 1960s and 1970s.

Additionally, there will be Torbay’s very own Sandy Sparkle who will be singing songs from the ’60s and ’70s and what festival would be complete without Anne George getting people on their feet and dancing?

For the less energetic there will be more than 10 hours of talks on subjects ranging from Staying Safe from Cyber Crime to Celebrating 175 years of Torquay Museum as well as a look at how Torbay has been a fixture and influence on the big screen over the decades in Torbay in the Movies given by Kevin Dixon.

You can also find out more about The Boys, a talk by John Lowe about the last operation of an RAF aircraft which crashed on Dartmoor in 1941 or learn more about the Golden Years of Hollywood with retired BBC executive, Martin Fisher.

Rosetor is being given over to fashion, pampering, health and wellbeing with a mixture of exercise classes including yoga, tai chi, as well as reiki, reflexology and clothed massage.

Sainsbury’s provide the clothing for the catwalk from their Tu range and there will be advice on hand on make-up and nails all to the tunes played on the grand piano which can be played by anyone who has the urge.

Elsewhere there are sports and exercise workshops, including Wiggles and Giggles – Bellydancing with the Saffannah dance duo – Flashmobs, as we well as seated exercise and an introduction to Pilates.

You can make a positive change mentally, physically or practically in one of our lifestyle workshops which include falls prevention, Qigong, drama improvisation and seated exercises.

Ageing Well wheels out the very best of talent from across the Bay with poetry,  The Torbay Ukulele Band, the Cholls, the SeaGalls and Twogetherness along with amateur talent in the Burdett Room.

Arts and Crafts workshops and displays are gathered in the Arena bar and Arena and Forum balconies where you can make dreamcatchers, create bird feeders from recycled materials or join Squircle Arts to have a go at lino printing and drawing.

If it is advice you need, then there are more agencies and organisations on hand with stalls in the Arena Exhibition Hall providing information, guidance and practical advice throughout the day.

The Festival which reflects the themes Love, Live, Laugh and Learn runs from 10 am until 5 pm, but with so much to choose from you need to start planning your day now. Programmes are available online at www.ageingwelltorbay.com/awf19 or from our offices 4-8 Temperance Street, Torquay TQ2 5PU.

The organisers aren’t just boasting when they say that this Festival is their biggest and best yet. It will be. By far. See you there.