Pensioner's battle to work

AT 83-years-old, Desmond Clifton could be forgiven for putting his feet up and enjoying a slower pace to life. But today, the sprightly pensioner is on the prowl for work - after he was forced to leave his job at an Ipswich toy shop because of his advancing years.

AT 83-years-old, Desmond Clifton could be forgiven for putting his feet up and enjoying a slower pace to life.

But today, the sprightly pensioner is on the prowl for work - after he was forced to leave his job at an Ipswich toy shop because of his advancing years.

The former dentist had worked at The Entertainer in Carr Street since 1991 after moving to Suffolk to be closer to his daughter.

However, the widower was ordered to retire from the position despite his fine health and passion for a job he has come to love.

Laws which came into force in 2006 ban age discrimination but exclude pensioners, who can be laid off at 65 without receiving redundancy.

Around 25,000 UK workers are believed to be forced to retire each year because they have reached the state retirement age.

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Mr Clifton, of Framlingham, said: “Leaving was not my decision, it was the decision of the company.

“I was told I could appeal, which I did, but unfortunately I was overruled.

“I enjoyed working in the toy shop because I found it satisfying to help a customer find what they wanted or provide them with some ideas for a Christmas or birthday present.”

The Entertainer did not want to comment on the situation.

Should Desmond be allowed to continue working? Or is it fair to force pensioners to retire? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Charities Age Concern and Help the Aged have led the fight against the Default Retirement Age regulations which dictate when a worker must retire.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: “Some people want to work for longer because they are fit and enjoy what they are doing.

“Others need to because the recession has impacted on their pensions and savings or simply because they have family depending on them.

“In both cases, the Default Retirement Age set by the government gets in the way of older workers planning their working lives and income.

“This legislation should be scrapped immediately.”

Former Ipswich Town boss Sir Bobby Robson managed Newcastle United aged 71.

Britain's oldest boss is believed to be 101-year-old company director Phyllis Self, who still works six days a week and manages a bustling garden centre business which she opened in 1969.

The oldest serving member of parliament is Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim, who was born on April 6, 1926.

The oldest professional footballer was Stanley Matthews, who played his final game for Stoke City on February 6, 1965. He was 50 years and 4 days old.

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