70 years young - older age is gold age for soon-to-be 70s

Tuesday, 15 March 2016
  • Older people enjoy hobbiesOlder People are embracing older age with plans to ensure their body and mind are kept active 
  • Over 40 per cent of sexagenarians don’t think old age starts until they are well into their 80s
  • Nearly half say Helen Mirren is the most inspirational 70 year old
  • Royal Voluntary Service identifies 70 stars celebrating their 70th to launch GrandFest 2016

Britons in their later years are relishing their 70s, with many planning to pursue new hobbies and interests rather than putting their feet up and relaxing.

According to Royal Voluntary Service research, released to launch GrandFest 2016, the one-day festival that celebrates older people and the skills they posses, over 40 per cent of 60-69 year olds (43%) said they didn’t believe older age began until they were in their eighties, with 11% saying older age would be when they hit 90.

Not seeing themselves as ‘old’, 66% had plans to learn or do something new in their seventieth decade with travelling to new countries (38%), getting fit (28%), volunteering (18%) and learning a practical skill (9%) among the most popular.

"When I was 17 I remember thinking 35 was very old! How we change, grow and learn. Life is for living and to be 70 now seems exciting to me. I've grown in confidence over the years and learned that every day is precious. Every day brings something new and challenging. Go for it!"

Alison Steadman, actress

Despite the negative image of ageing often portrayed, research by the charity identified how many Brits in their sixties were looking forward to hitting the big seven zero. A third (32%) said they were intend to embrace their impending 70s with 18 per cent saying they feel proud to be in their seventies. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that people aged 65-79 years old enjoy the highest satisfaction levels – far higher than those in their 40s and 50s.

Inspirational older people are paving the way, nearly half (45%) said Helen Mirren is the most inspirational celebrity to turn 70 in 2015 while a quarter cited former BBC correspondent, Kate Adie.

And it seems those soon to be 70s are in good company as a host of household names known for their acting, writing, cooking, and dancing skills are celebrating their seventieth birthday in 2016.

The illustrious 70@70 roll call includes singing great Dolly Parton, actresses Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren and Alison Steadman, chef, Brian Turner, and politician Ken Livingstone.

"Our roll call of 70 year olds will hopefully make people reassess their view of old age. Most of the people on our list are still working and are at the top of their profession. They are proof that that later life is to be celebrated and that’s why we wanted to launch GrandFest, to give people an opportunity to learn from the country’s seasoned professionals, the Original Makers who have perfected their skills over a lifetime."

David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service

"Approaching 70 is as exciting as I remember approaching 20 years of age, so much to look forward to and now with a lot more experience of life! Looking back I am privileged to have met so many wonderful people and been to marvellous places. Onwards ever onwards!"

Brian Turner, Chef

Dr Chris Steele"When you reach 70, your main hopes and dreams for the future are really focused on maintaining good health and the avoidance of age-related problems.....so very different to those earlier years when dreams centred on job ambitions, materialistic matters and hopes for your young family. The maturity and experience of '3 score years and ten' does make one realise what the real priorities are in life - health and family."

Dr Chris Steele, British medical doctor, and the resident doctor on ITV's This Morning

GrandFest, taking place in London on 5 June, is a one day festival created for the older generation to share craft skills such as knitting, crochet, wood turning and bread making through a series of master classes. Taking over museums, shops, cafes and bars in and around East London each masterclass will be led by a talented Original GrandMaker, aged 70 or over.

Royal Voluntary Service exists to enrich the lives of older people and to ensure that they can continue to live life to the full. It does this by providing support and volunteering opportunities to older people in order to have a beneficial impact on their health and well being. The charity supports 100,000 older people each month with a range of services from Good Neighbours, Community Transport and Books on Wheels to more interactive services such as Knit and Natter and Men in the Workshop.

70@70 celebrities

Name Occupation Age Birthday
Eric Clapton
Singer, musician
30 March 1945
Joël Robuchon
7 April 1945
Martyn Lewis
Broadcast journalist
7 April 1945
Bianca Jagger Former actress, human and social rights activist 70
2 May 1945
Deidre Sanders Agony aunt 70 9 June 1945
Ken Livingstone Politician, former Mayor of London 70 17 June 1945
Labi Siffre Singer (So Strong) 70 25 June 1945
Carly Simon Singer, musician 70 25 June 1945
Debbie Harry (Blondie) Singer 70 1 July 1945
John Motson Sports commentator 70 10 July 1945
Helen Mirren Actress 70 26 July 1945
Steve Martin Actor 70 14 August 1945
Dr Chris Steele TV Doctor (This Morning) 70 29 August 1945
Van Morrison Singer, musician 70 31 August 1945
Kate Adie BBC journalist, Radio 4 presenter 70 19 September 1945
Bryan Ferry Singer, musician 70 26 September 1945
Don Mclean Singer 70 2 October 1945
Lesley Joseph Actress 70 14 October 1945
John Lithgow Actor 70 19 October 1945
Henry Winkler Actor (Happy Days) 70 30 October 1945
Neil Young Singer 70 12 November 1945
Goldie Hawn Actress 70 21 November 1945
Bette Midler Actress, singer 70 1 December 1945
Diane Keaton Actress 70 5 January 1946
Dolly Parton Singer 70 19 January 1946
David Lynch Director/screenwriter 70 20 January 1946
Charlotte Rampling Actress 70 5 February 1946
Ian Lavender Actor (ex Eastenders, Dad's Army) 70 16 February 1946
Michael Burke Broadcast journalist 70 18 February 1946
Brenda Blethyn Actress 70 20 February 1946
Anthony Daniels Actor (Star Wars) 70 21 February 1946
John Stapleton TV Presenter 70 24 February 1946
Harvey Goldsmith Performing arts promoter 70
4 March 1946
Liza Minnelli Singer/actress 70 12 March 1946
Timothy Dalton Actor 69 21 March 1946
Jane Asher Actress 69 5 April 1946
Hayley Mills Actress 69 18 April 1946 
Tim Curry Actor 69 19 April 1946
Leslie Grantham Actor (ex Eastenders) 69 30 April 1946
David Suchet Actor 69 2 May 1946
Brian Turner Chef 69 7 May 1946
Michael Rosen Children's author (We're Going on a Bear Hunt) 69 7 May 1946
Candice Bergen Actress 69 9 May 1946
Maureen Lipman Actress 69
10 May 1946
Tim Pigott-Smith Actor 69
13 May 1946
Cher Singer, actress 69
20 May 1946
Brian Cox Actor (X Men, Troy) 69
1 June 1946
Penelope Wilton Actress (Downton Abbey) 69
3 June 1946
Noddy Holder
Singer, musician
15 June 1946
George W Bush
43rd US ex-president
6 July 1946
Alun Armstrong
Actor (New Tricks)
17 July 1946
Danny Glover
Actor (Lethal Weapon)
22 July 1946
Tony Robinson
Actor, presenter (Blackadder)
15 August 1946
Bill Clinton
 Ex USA President
19 August 1946
Alison Steadman
Actress (Abigail's Party, Gavin & Stacey)
26 August 1946
Barry Gibb
Singer, Musician
1 September 1946
Tommy Lee Jones
15 September 1946
Oliver Stone
Film director
15 September 1946
Patricia Hodge
29 September 1946
Charles Dance
10 October 1946
Chris Tarrant
TV presenter
10 October 1946
Edwina Currie
Former MP
13 October 1946
Philip Pullman
19 October 1946
Sally Field
6 November 1946
Christopher Ellison
Actor (ex The Bill)
16 December 1946
Steven Spielberg
18 December 1946
Uri Geller
20 December 1946
Marianne Faithfull
29 December 1946
Patti Smith
Singer, musician
30 December 1946

Back to list


Join Royal Voluntary Service to leave a comment

Please sign up as a registered user to leave a comment. If you're not yet registered, sign up now.

Sign in

Read our blog

Read our opinions and comments on issues faced by older people today. 

See what we're saying 

email sign up

Keep up to date with our regular emails.

Sign up