Not many octogenarians take up new hobbies – but Jean Hughes from Oswestry is an exception.
At the tender age of 86 she has learnt to sail, thanks to an initiative hosted by the Shropshire Sailing Club, near Ellesmere – and she’s enjoying every minutes of it.
Jean was invited by friends to Shropshire SC’s free Push The Boat Out open day in May, and loved her sailing tasters so much she signed up for a two-day RYA Start Sailing course.
She has since spent many Saturdays learning the ropes and improving her skills at the club during the summer.
Jean’s only previous sailing experience came when her family bought a small dinghy, which they put on the roof of the car and took to Bala Lake to try it out. However, that attempt didn’t go quite to plan and they had to row the boat back to shore!
She admits her experience this year has been a little more successful.
Jean said: “Learning to sail was on my bucket list. I have always enjoyed new challenges and thought sailing would open up a new world of experiences. It is certainly living up to my expectations and I am really enjoying getting out on the water, especially being able to ‘lean out’ when going fast!
“I have gone to the club on Saturdays when possible and found the people there very friendly. I’m so thankful God has given me good health so I have been able to try this with help and encouragement from everyone at the sailing club.”
John Ridgers, RYA training principal at Shropshire SC, said he believes it is the first time someone new to the sport has started sailing at the club in their 80s.
He added: “Jean was a delight to teach – her enthusiasm and the speed she picked up new skills were outstanding.
“We have people of all ages starting to sail at the club.”