A Burnham Market man has written a book about people who see the age of 65 as the start of a new career, not the end of working life.
Raymond Monbiot’s fourth book, Retirement is for Younger People: Life is too Short to Retire, features 16 local personalities whose careers carried on or branched off in other ways.
Now 75, Raymond’s long and varied career started with J. Lyons. By the age of 19 he was a foreman. Later, he trained as a pastry chef making cakes for Buckingham Palace garden parties and fruit scones for the Queen Mother’s breakfast.
He worked his way up the ladder, eventually running three companies for Lyons, before becoming managing director of Associated Biscuits and UK chairman of Campbell’s soups, based in Lynn.
He also held many senior Conservative Party posts over 54 years, including chairing the party’s conference in 2000 and five years as deputy party chairman. He was awarded both an MBE and a CBE but turned down a peerage in 2010.
Deeply involved in his local community, his first book, How to Manage Your Boss, sold 30,000 copies.
People featured in the book include Peggy Sizeland, now 72, of Burnham Market who, though forced to retire at the age of 59 after an accident, restarted the village youth club aged 69, was an active member of several local groups and a parish councillor for 12 years.
“I have never got over my forced early retirement. I cannot sit and watch television in the day. I must be doing something,” she said.
Self-taught artist, Pamela Noyes, also of Burnham Market, whose work has been accepted by the Royal Academy, is 83, said: “I have a lot of paintings simmering on the back burner.”
Trevor and Christine Forcast, of Sedgeford, developed the famed eatery, Congham Hall, selling it in 1999 when Trevor was 65. His current roles include the chairmanship of the West Norfolk Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
Geof Hanley, in banking all his working life, chairs Burnham Market parish council and is involved in the village’s annual craft fair. He sees many challenges as a parish councillor, including the need “to preserve the best of the village atmosphere” with so many properties now being second homes.
Raymond sums up old age by saying: “With retirement, if one wishes, the brakes come off …lost dreams can be rediscovered. It’s not too late and it is surely better than sitting brooding over what might have been.”
Retirement is for Younger People is on sale in local bookshops for £8.99 or by pre-launch order for £7+ £1.90 p&p, before December 10 from Eastgate House, Burnham Market, PE31 8HH. Phone 01328 730928 for more details.