At aged 84, she still visits the gym to practice standing on her head and choreograph new gymnastic routines
Marjorie Carter, a grandmother from Bradford, and former Olympic gymnast, is still performing gravity-defying routines at the age of 84.
Now a homeowner at McCarthy & Stone’s Jowett Court Retirement Living development in Bradford, Marjorie competed in two Olympics as a member of the eight-strong British female gymnast team.
Marjorie has now won the top prize in a nationwide Inspirational Generation competition – an initiative set-up by the retirement house builders to celebrate and reward the inspiring feats and achievements of older people. It was judged by TV personality, Gloria Hunniford,
Age is certainly no barrier for Majorie, who was selected to compete in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, and the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.
“Being selected to represent my country was truly exhilarating, it was such an honour and those memories of the opening ceremony will last a lifetime,” she said.
The octogenarian who began performing somersaults and cartwheels at the age of 10, went on to have an impressive coaching career, nurturing the next generation of gymnasts and still trains three times a week – hitting the gym at 6am.
“You need to keep moving,” she adds. “It’s so important when you get older to maintain that independence and mobility.
“As they say, ‘use it or you lose it’.” The grandmother of five can still stand on her head and perform the splits.
Marjorie has embraced everything about retirement living as well as the independence and freedom she has experienced since downsizing to a McCarthy & Stone apartment. Being selected as the national winner of Inspirational Generation for her successful sporting career spanning over 70 years was the icing on the cake.
“I didn’t think I’d win”, she said. “So I was absolutely overwhelmed to get that congratulation call. I had to take a minute to come to terms with it all. It’s been a true honour, and I’ve had a really wonderful life.”
Some of Marjorie’s happiest memories have been travelling across Europe training and developing gymnasts to represent Great Britain in International Gymnastradas in Berlin, Zurich, Herning and Amsterdam.
When she retired at 74, she remained involved in the sport until 2015 volunteering at Leeds Espirit Gymnastics Club.
It’s so important when you get older to maintain that independence and mobility
Marjorie, who has been married to her husband Geoffrey, 87, for 61 years, was awarded £2,000 and a £200 cheque to donate her chosen charity.
Sharon Gill, Marketing Manager for McCarthy & Stone North East, said: “Our Inspirational Generation campaign was focused on raising awareness of the fantastic achievements of those over 60 and how inspirational they are to the younger generation.
“As soon as we saw her entry it was clear Marjorie was an exceptionally inspirational lady. She has had a fascinating sporting career and we are delighted to see her recognised in this way, which is what she really deserves.
“Many people see old age as something to dread. Marjorie, like many of our homeowners, is proving that age is no barrier.
“It’s just a number and we want to encourage more people to be inspired by Marjorie’s story, and see their retirement as an opportunity – an opportunity to live life to the fullest.”
Gloria Hunniford, who judged the competition, said: “My congratulations go to Marjorie. There is a clearly a generation of people living fascinating and inspiring lives, and we can all learn from their energy, fortitude, and relentless passion.”
For a full list of Inspirational Generation winners, please click here.
Jowett Court is fully sold, however there are similar Retirement Living developments nearby including:
- Broke Dene Court in Cleckheaton, which is under construction
- Hepworth Court in Brighouse where a one-bedroom apartment costs from £150,000 and a two-bedroom from £249,999.
Both developments offer spacious, high-end properties that have been designed exclusively for those over 60. Each combines the best in modern living and low-maintenance design, offering access to shared facilities including landscaped gardens, a communal coffee lounge and a guest suite for visiting family and friends.