81-year old is job's new boy

ALLAN Woodland is an 81-year-old with a difference.Despite having reached an age when many people need help with household tasks, Allan is training to be a carer for others in Suffolk - sometimes people who are many years younger than him.

ALLAN Woodland is an 81-year-old with a difference.

Despite having reached an age when many people need help with household tasks, Allan is training to be a carer for others in Suffolk - sometimes people who are many years younger than him.

He said: “I do realise it is unusual but I think people like the fact that I am of a similar age because it makes them feel comfortable with me.

“And it is a job I enjoy because I like being with people and everyone likes to feel they have helped others.”

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Allan, who lives in Kettleburgh with his wife Wilda, said it was his varied life experiences that had given him the skills he needed.

He said: “When I was two years old I was living in the States and when I was 19 I flew planes for the RAF in the Second World War.

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“And throughout my life I have had about 60 or 70 different jobs including setting up about five businesses myself.

“Whenever I hear people talking about their problems I want to interrupt and tell them what to do because I think I know the answers.”

It was when Mr Woodland saw an advertisement for a carer position with Ipswich-based Sanctuary Social Care last year he thought he thought about starting the new job.

He said: “I had done some caring about nine years ago but I didn't think I'd get the job.

“In fact I thought I had a lot of check and I probably wouldn't stand a dog's chance. But I got it.”

From next week, Allan will be looking after people across Suffolk for four hours, five days a week.

Because he is unable to lift the clients, he will take on a duel-carer job but he will still be responsible for shopping, cooking and gardening for clients and will even wash them if they can not do it themselves.

He said: “It is also important to be a friend to them too.

“Everyone has something interesting to say so I just have to bring it out of them. Plus I am more mature which helps them feel comfortable. Some of the youngsters would be scared stiff by dealing with some of the clients.”

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Daniel McPherson, managing director of Sanctuary Social Care, said: “Allan is great and throughout his training the clients have love him.

“He is not able to lift but what he does very well is befriending people. He will go round to their house and have a chat.”

Mr McPherson admitted the company had initially been surprised when they received Mr Woodland's application but he said they were aware of discrimination legislation so invited him for interview.

Once he got there he impressed them all with his energy and enthusiasm.

Mr McPherson said: “We all have preconceptions about what an 81-year-old can do but we have put them to the back of our mine now because there are no problems with his at all.

“He is really good. People love it.

“Some of our clients feel very vulnerable and so it is lovely for them that they have someone they are able to talk to.

“He also has an ability to give over a relaxed style and I am definitely pleased we took him on.”

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