Ageing well in the UK

Client: Age UK

The project shows how older people maintain and improve the quality of their lives, interact with theirs peers and their community and how seniors are staying active in their later years.

Over 1 month I took pictures of individuals, groups and organisations across Felixstowe in Suffolk. I chose to photograph leisure, exercises and activities for people over 60. Inactivity is the enemy of us all. Being active means different things to anyone. Some people will prefer to incorporate it into everyday tasks, other will prefer regular or recreational activity such as a class, or sequence dancing, or bowling competition or enjoying the seafront and the «chalet» lifestyle.

I also visited the tea dance club where weekly sequence dancing sessions are taking place. Modern Sequence Dancing is an English activity based on the standard ballroom and Latin dances, including waltz, quickstep, foxtrot, rumba etc. Sequence dances are enjoyable social events and there is no competition or exhibitionism. They do however provide gentle exercise and mental stimulation as well as good company. Beginners are welcomed and helped with the dances. Newcomers need to try several clubs to find the one most suited to their level of dancing and with company that they can enjoy. The name ‘Sequence’ derives from the fact the dance steps are made to be a certain length and then they repeat, this length is normally 16 bars but there are some dance sequences that last for 32 bars.

Felixstowe is also the home of the Bowling club, which was built in 1932, and bowling began in May that year and it is considered one of the most prestigious in the county. Its membership is over 80 gentlemen members (including 2 current internationals), 40 lady bowlers and about 100 associate (social) members. They run the biggest annual open tournament in the county, which attracts over 500 competitors every year for two weeks during July/August. Along with supporters and spectators, it is estimated that nearly 1000 people visit the club during this fortnight every year.