‘Keep your brain active or it will just give up’ says Ian, 81

Ian Harrison, 81, one of 20 older people selected for a free afternoon tea  to celebrate the achievements of older people, and Eastbourne Pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar SUS-161110-120422001
Ian Harrison, 81, one of 20 older people selected for a free afternoon tea to celebrate the achievements of older people, and Eastbourne Pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar SUS-161110-120422001

A Hastings resident who turned his couch potato lifestyle around to become a best-selling author has been recognised for his achievements with an afternoon tea hosted by the owner of Eastbourne pier, Sheikh Abid Gulzar.

Ian Harrison, 81, was one of 20 inspirational older people selected to attend the event, held to celebrate their achievements as part of Older People’s Fortnight.

Eastbourne Pier owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar hosted celebrations at the Lions Boship Farm Hotel, Hailsham. Guests were treated to free tea, sandwiches and cake, presented with a gold-framed certificate of appreciation and given a gold tin of M&S biscuits. Each winner had the opportunity to tell their own personal story, either by themselves or by a family member or friend.

Ian says too many people wait for retirement and then think that they need do nothing but sit in a rocking chair. “You need to keep your brain active or it will just give up,” he said.

“I was having breakfast and then sitting in my very comfortable recliner and going to sleep - a waste of life.

“So I decided to write a book, ‘The Jiggery Stick’ which was published last autumn and received some good reviews and for a while was in the Amazon top ten for Satire.

“I have recently published ‘The Jiggery Code’ as part two of the trilogy. I am currently writing ‘Jiggery Justice’ where the hero is currently battling with the Triads in Hong Kong.

“So I have gone from sitting in my chair dreaming, to mornings that are filled with danger, excitement and laughter.”

Sheikh Abid Gulzar said that Mr Harrison – who was joined at the tea by family members - is a great example of what can be achieved in later life. “I am a firm supporter of older people and always have been,” he said. “I am 71 and I admire so many people who are now in their late 60s, 70s, 80s or even older.

“I think the idea of Older People’s Day is a great one, so I wanted to play my very small part in celebrating what us oldens do. It was a great afternoon and we heard so many amazing stories. It really made me feel very humble and realise just how many wonderful people we have in East Sussex.”

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