Lillian, 106, tries Tai Chi in Barking on Older People's Day

PUBLISHED: 13:05 02 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:11 02 October 2014

106-year-old Lillian Twinley

106-year-old Lillian Twinley


At 106 years old, you wouldn’t begrudge Lillian Twinley for opting for a quiet, sedentary life.

106-year-old Lillian Twinley with other residents at the home106-year-old Lillian Twinley with other residents at the home

But the great-great grandmother was eager to try out a Tai Chi session at Harp House in Barking to celebrate Older People’s Day yesterday.

The estate’s bowling green was transformed into an outside Dojo for the occasion with about 20 residents - with a staggering combined age of 543 - giving the martial art a go.

Instructor Fiona Anderson, of London Tai Chi Instructors, taught them a series of simple exercises which could be replicated standing up or sitting down.

Lillian, a former dinner lady who enjoyed playing netball in her youth, admitted that she was “a little apprehensive” at first.

“Before the lesson my great-grandchildren were teasing me about doing the box split and roundhouse kicks just like Bruce Lee,” she said. 
“I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that our instructor taught us some gentle breathing and movement exercises which was interesting and exhilarating.”

Marlene Chrinnion, care manager of the HanoverExtraCare housing estate, said Older People’s Day gave them an opportunity to celebrate their residents.

“They are people to look up to and admire for what they have done and the input they have had in everybody’s lives,” she said.

Craft and memorabilia sessions were held at the home later in the day.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of the council, dropped in to a free event to mark Older’s People’s Week organised by charity DABD earlier today.

Upcoming events include a “Ritz-style” afternoon tea party which is being held tomorrow afternoon from 2pm to 4pm.

Organised by the Creekmouth Preservation Society for residents of Thames View Lodge and Hockley Mews, Barking, the event aims to encourage residents to socialise rather than being isolated behind their own front doors.

Forties music and singing will entertain residents.

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