Maurice now paddles his own canoe

ADVENTEROUS Maurice Jennings has proved age is no barrier to trying new things after taking up kayaking at the age of 80.

ADVENTEROUS Maurice Jennings has proved age is no barrier to trying new things after taking up kayaking at the age of 80.

The sprightly pensioner began the new hobby just weeks ago but has already paddled across the River Orwell and back - and brushed off his first capsize.

Mr Jennings - who tragically lost his wife and daughter within a year of each other - said it was important to get out of the house and meet new people.

The energetic retired cabinet maker also starting ballroom dancing lessons at the same time as taking up kayaking and said both new hobbies kept him busy.


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Mr Jennings, who lives in the Nacton area, said: “It is a matter of getting out and about really.

“The rivers are very quiet and peaceful. My son Keith had a kayak in the first place so I go out with him.

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“We were out off Felixstowe the other day and it overturned and I had to swim to shore.

“But it was fine. I can swim and am perfectly capable.”

Mr Jennings has been a widower since his wife of 53 years, Dorothy, known as Dot, died suddenly in 2002.

The couple's daughter, Shirley Hogger, who had lived for many years in Canada had been diagnosed with cancer and her mother flew over to care for her.

Mrs Jennings died of a heart attack while in the country and her daughter lost her cancer battle nine months later.

Mr Jennings said: “The first six years were the worst, 53 years is a lifetime but you just have to try and carry on.

“It is a matter of getting out and doing things - if you just sit about indoors you end up feeling lonely.

“If you don't go out then you don't meet new people.

“I have taken up dancing as well as that will be nice through the winter months.”

Mr Jennings' son Colin said he and his brothers were extremely proud of their courageous dad and that his positive attitude was “an inspiration.”

“He would rather go out and do something than sit at home and since mum died he has done everything at home - he cleans, cooks, bakes cakes and biscuits and keeps the garden looking nice,” said Mr Jennings jnr.

“We are all very proud of him.

“He can do hours of ballroom dancing and would say he does not feel the age he is.”

Olympic veteran Stan Cox, 90, of Felixstowe, takes regular walks along the town's seafront and is hopeful of playing a part in the 2012 games in London.

The energetic pensioner heads up a group of walkers who enjoy regular four mile outings and said it was “important to keep fit”.

The Second World War veteran said he would like to take a part in the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games and believed he could be one of the only people still alive who competed in the 1948 London Olympics.

CANCER sufferer George Hodgson did a parachute jump from 10,000ft and a wing walk at the age of 83.

The brave pensioner, from Wolsingham in County Durham, was raising money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief as he was suffering from prostate cancer.

Sprightly George said he kept fit by going to the gym twice a week.

COURAGEOUS 89-year-old Hilda Pearson did a sky dive over Byron Bay in Australia in memory of her daughter who had died of cancer.

After jumping 10,000ft, energetic Hilda said she planned to go up in a helicopter and a hot air balloon and learn how to swim despite her family thinking she was “crazy.”

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