Meet our new columnist

BORN-and-bred Ipswich girl BEVERLEY BOWRY is a soap addict who's watched Coronation Street since day one - and who reckons her dancing exploits make Julian Clary look positively professional.

BORN-and-bred Ipswich girl BEVERLEY BOWRY is a soap addict who's watched Coronation Street since day one - and who reckons her dancing exploits make Julian Clary look positively professional.

As the oldest student in her college class, she proves how much fun it is to be 50-something.

Here's her first weekly column…now where's that karaoke microphone?

DO you just hate the thought of being 50, or if you're already there, are you fed up to the back teeth - if you're lucky enough to still have any - of people thinking you're over the hill?

Are you sick of telesales calls and flyers that offer you the latest hearing aids, or help to get in and out of the bath, or stair lifts that will assist you to descend the stairs that you've just run down to answer the phone?

Do you dread the time when the only patter of tiny feet that you'll hear will be your dog chasing the cat across the kitchen floor? When the only person spitting out their dummy will be your partner when they catch sight of the phone bill you've run up ringing your migrated fledglings?

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People say that 50 is the new 40 but that's not much compensation when you didn't want to reach that landmark age either. Well don't despair, all is not lost... not yet anyway. As far as I'm concerned if you start your second childhood around about the age 70, then you should be beginning to act like a 20-year-old right about now. So take my advice and do just that especially now it's a brand new year.

There must be loads of things that you always wanted to do in your youth but never did, or that you never wanted to do but now you do.

Take education; if you're regretting knitting under the desk in religious studies, or cleaning your spark plugs in physics, now's the time to do something about it.

'Ah,' you may say 'but what about my memory?' Okay, we all know that it's supposed to deteriorate as we get older. I can't remember how many times I've got to the top of my stairs only to stand there like an idiot wondering what I went up there for. Despite this I'm still managing to study for an English and Media degree, which proves that anything's possible if you want it enough.

And before you start saying aren't you a bit old for Media ... I thought it was a kid's thing, then my answer's most emphatically no, after all don't forget I'm only 50-something going-on 20. Admittedly I am classed as a mature student although I fight that label every step of the way as I can be very immature when I want to be. Now where was I? Ah, yes... that there is hope even if you have hit the big 5 0.

But, I hear you ask, why would I want to go back to school, it was bad enough the first time round? Well there's no-one demanding to know if you're doing your homework for starters, but if that doesn't appeal then why not have a go at something else lots of youngsters are doing nowadays. No, not going out clubbing, although there is that option if you don't mind having to prove you're over twenty-one. No, I was thinking more of dancing.

Don't say, 'oh, but I couldn't possibly.' How do you know until you try? 30-odd years ago I wouldn't have been seen dead on a dance floor, now I'm hardly off it. Forget Angela Rippon and your mum and dad dressed up to the nines on a Saturday night, instead think samba and salsa and jive.

Okay, I admit that sometimes I feel like I'd rather be snuggled up on the sofa with my favourite tipple than experiencing the one in the tipple chasse I'm learning in the quickstep, but when I'm on that dance floor and the music's playing, those thoughts just fly out of the window. Of course the fact that your man gets to think he's leading you around does wonders for his self esteem too so you both end up happy. Don't worry that you might not be any good, that hasn't stopped my hubby and me.

Or if that's not your thing why not surprise your family next birthday by asking for a karaoke machine instead of the usual beautifying products? There's nothing better than belting out a couple of old classics for taking the years off you.

Of course there'll probably be some raised eyebrows at first but they'll come round to the idea pretty quickly if you pull out your ace card and put it down to 'your age'.

So there you have it, a few suggestions for coping with middle age, but if you don't fancy any of them, then just do whatever else you please as long as you have fun.

And when the inevitable knockers demand to know what on earth you want to do that for, just take a leaf out of your kids' book and scream, 'Because I can!'

Contcat Beverley: Write to Beverley Bowry, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email

Name: Beverley Bowry

Age: 52

Family: Married to Derek for 30 years, two daughters, aged 26 and 18.

Occupation : English and Media degree student at Suffolk College.

Likes: Animals, writing anything, reading anything, most music, dancing, meals out and watching TV with my family.

Dislikes: All forms of cruelty, cold callers, litter, spicy food and ironing.

Ambition: To be a published author.

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