Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Friday, 14 December 2012

HOL Older people P1

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has made his final speech in the House of Lords before he steps down after 10 years in the office.

The archbishop led a debate on the place and contribution of older people in society on 14 December 2012, in which he pleaded for "a change in attitude" and for society to "appropriately recognise" older citizens.

Dr Williams said: "We're becoming dangerously used to speaking and thinking of an ageing population as a problem; a burden on public purse and private resources alike."

He claimed that a third of the population as a whole were willing to do some voluntary work and older people were no exception.

"A great deal of our culture is frenetically oriented towards youth," Dr Williams argued. While this was understandable to some extent it should be remembered that older people "are participants, not passengers".

He added that young people should be aware that "ageing is something that we are all doing, whether we like it or not".

Following Dr Williams, Conservative peer Baroness Trumpington paid tribute to the archbishop but said that "the most reverend primate is 20 years younger than I am".

In fact, 28 years separate 62-year old Dr Williams and 90-year-old Baroness Trumpington.

Campaigning charity WRVS (formerly the Women's Royal Voluntary Service) has published the Gold Age Power List of people who the organisation recognises as making "extraordinary achievements and inspirational contributions in the later decades of their lives".

The list includes a number of members of the House of Lords.

The average age of members of the Lords is 69. There are 111 members aged between 80 and 89, and 12 aged 90 or over.

The Upper House has only 25 members aged 49 or younger.

You can watch part two of the debate here.


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