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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Call to halt age discrimination
MPs join a group of veteran athletes to launch the charter
The government is being urged to support the campaign
Older people are calling on the government to put a stop to age discrimination in Britain.

The Age Concern charity has drawn up an equality charter which will be delivered to MPs on Tuesday.

To illustrate the desire by older people to lead successful lives, six veteran athletes aged between 60 and 75 will hurdle outside the House of Commons as the "age equality contract" is handed over.

It outlines five key areas in which the charity says older people are discriminated against - employment, health, social care, learning, and as consumers in the market place


I was in my early 40s when I switched from being a plasterer to an actor and now I'm in my 60s I'm landing lead roles in films

Ricky Tomlinson, actor
According to the charity, many people believe British society is ageist.

Among other things, it is calling for the older generation to be judged on skills and knowledge in the workplace, and according to clinical need and not age in the health service.

The contract urges the government to show its support for older people's needs and produce a detailed plan on how it will end age discrimination.

The athletes, from the British Veteran Athletics Federation, will be joined by other older people who will tell MPs about their experiences of ageism.

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England, said: "These veteran athletes show older people want to keep winning in later life - and the rest of society will win if it breaks the age barrier and uses older people's potential to the full."

'Wasting talent'

Runner Peter Field, 71, from Eynsford, Kent, said: "The attitude that people have an expiry date of 65 years or even less is ridiculous."

One pensioner, Markie Wright, from Twickenham, Middlesex, said when she turned 76 last year her car insurance went up by more than 80, despite her clean driving record.

The campaign is also being backed by celebrities including Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson.

He said: "I am living proof that someone older can adapt to a new career successfully and learn a new trade later in life.

"I was in my early 40s when I switched from being a plasterer to an actor and now I'm in my 60s I'm landing lead roles in films.

"Employers who don't value age are wasting loads of talent."

See also:

16 Jul 02 | UK
04 Jun 02 | Business
19 Mar 02 | Entertainment
15 Jan 02 | Business
15 Jan 02 | Health
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