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World Record Holder to Inspire Over 55s to Get Moving
03 May 2022

Atlantic rower Di Carrington will speak at a new Shropshire festival aimed at introducing the over 55s to a wide range of activities on their doorstep

Former nurse Di Carrington was diagnosed with anxiety and depression on her 55th birthday and lost her job and her confidence. A friend persuaded her to join a team aiming to become the oldest women to row the Atlantic Ocean, which she did in 2017, entering the Guinness Book of World Records. She will tell her story at the Keep on Moving Shropshire Festival this Sunday, May 8th at Shrewsbury Sports Village, in a bid to inspire other people to get active. 

Di's inspirational talk for the over 55s will be a highlight of the free event (9.30am to 4pm), which features a range of taster activity sessions and information.

The Keep on Moving day marks the start of a three-week festival aimed at helping people to connect to fun and healthy activities near them - the festival is organised by Age UK, Energize and Taking Part, along with other voluntary and community sector partners, working with Shropshire Council and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG.

Set yourself a Goal - Like Di Did! 

Di Carrington, from Shrewsbury, had never dreamed of becoming a world record-holder. After leaving school, she taught outdoor pursuits and field studies at Arthog, Shropshire’s Outdoor Centre, where she fell in love with the sea and the natural world. 

After ten years teaching, she retrained as a nurse in Shrewsbury, working her way up the career ladder, until she was working for a national quality assurance programme.

"It was here with seven regions to manage that I burnt out and broke down," Di recalls. On her 55th birthday, she was diagnosed with anxiety depression and began a long journey of recovery, but had lost her job, career and all her confidence.

"Close to my 60th birthday two close relatives were diagnosed with advanced cancer and my world fell apart. It was a good friend that said, ‘I’ve just seen four ladies row the Atlantic, I think we need to do something, let’s do that, let’s become the oldest women to row an ocean!’"

Di's focus turned to learning how to row and all that was needed to start this challenge. In December 2017, she set off from La Gomera to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic.

"After two capsizes, we arrived 60 days 18 hours and 34 minutes later in Antigua," Di said. "We had rowed into the record books, achieving three official Guinness Book World Records and one unofficial record. At the time more people had been into space than had rowed an ocean."

You can hear more from Di on Sunday, as well Professor Janet Lord on the science of aging and a practical session on how to keep moving from Suzie O’Shea of Energize.

Guests can also chose from a range of activities offered by local clubs and tutors. The Shrewsbury Indoor Bowls club will be supporting the festival with bowling taster sessions, tennis will be offered by Tennis Shropshire and walking football will be offered by Shrewsbury Town in the Community. There will be zumba and pilates from Energize, ballet from Age UK and walking netball from the Shrewsbury Walking Netball Club.

Festival sponsor, Quest, is supporting an ability bikes session along with advice available from Cycling4All Shropshire – come and try tandems, side-by side and other innovative adaptive bikes. Community Dance, hypnosis for relaxation and Pickleball are also on the timetable.

There will be a postural stability area run by Energize’s “Elevate” project with the NHS Falls Team, Community Resource will be offering Functional Fitness MOT’s and there will be Covid-19 Vaccinations available from Shropshire Council Health & Wellbeing Community Outreach Team’s “Bob the Bus”.

The Market Place will offer stalls from a range of organisations offering information, advice and support and there will be a free packed lunch on offer to keep you going through the action-packed day.

Please book HERE or call on 0345 678 9077.