Get to know us by watching our “Silver Soundbites” videos featuring our Trustees reflecting on growing up and their views on later life.
Carol Burns (Chair of the Trustees)
“As a younger older person, I am enjoying the opportunities that finishing paid work has brought. Celebrating the gift that is a longer life is an important reason why I am involved in GOG.
Although I trained as a teacher, most of my working life has been in the voluntary/ charity sector. My last role before finishing full time work was as the manager of a project working with older people. I spent four years as a freelancer supporting organisations with their strategy, governance and fundraising as well as offering training to frontline workers. My current passions include volunteering to teach English to refugees/asylum seekers and working with local people in Garforth to support practical action to mitigate the climate crisis.
Spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren is a must, as is time with my mother, who fortunately at 89 is still with us.”
“Hello, I am Pippa Bonner: a widow, daughter, mother, step mother and grandmother. As a younger, older person myself and as a Trustee for Growing Old Grace-fully I am keen that older people are valued in our ageing society, their faith and concerns supported and that they are acknowledged for their gifts and life experience. Also I believe that the situation of those living with dementia and their carers need to be better understood and our churches work to become more inclusive.
I am a social worker by background. I worked in Social Services with different client groups. I then spent over 20 years working in a local Hospice, latterly running their Bereavement Service. I studied theology in middle age. Currently I work on a pastoral team supporting older Religious Sisters. I enjoy seeing my family, writing, sudokus, watching detective series on TV and avoiding housework as much as I can!”
Deacon Joseph Cortis
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Cortis is a permanent deacon based at the Cathedral Parish. He brings 40 year experience as a healthcare professional, senior lecturer at the School of Healthcare -Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds and a researcher. He is the founder and coordinator of Caritas Leeds and coordinates the following streams of work: criminal justice system, disabilities, dementia care, asylum seekers and refugees, youth leadership and Catholic Social Teaching. Deacon Joe is a Trustee of Catholic Care, Leeds Church Institute, Christians on Ageing and Leeds Citizens. In the past he spent periods as Chair of Dewsbury and District Community Health Council, Chair of Governors of a diocesan secondary school and Chair of one of the five Diocesan Academy Trusts.
“I am grateful to have lived into later life and believe that we (older people) have a lot to offer to society, to our families and friends, to our local community and to our church.
Later life is LIFE: personal and spiritual development are still happening. I am involved with GOG because I believe that GOG is a means for us to share our joys and experience, to support one another in facing the challenges and losses of this stage of our lives, to draw attention to older people’s contributions, concerns and needs and to help develop ways of responding.
I am a mother and grandmother and relish time spent with my family and friends of all ages and different backgrounds, particularly time spent sharing food, conversation and laughter. My working life has been in the voluntary/charity sector in community and organisational development here and with two periods in Africa. As well as GOG, I am also involved in another older people’s organisation and a Black and Ethnic Minority charity concerned with disability, and with the co-housing scheme where I live.”
Mgr Peter Rosser
“I retired at 60 from a career in social work with older people and as a project manager in the NHS. Always interested in older people, I joined the SVP for 6 years when my 4 children were small. For the first 5 years of retirement I trained as a healthwise tutor, and ran exercise classes for groups in the community. After this I rented out my house and spent 3 winters in Spain, where I also ran exercise classes for expats in a local hotel in Albir.
In 2012, having returned home I started campaigning to save our NHS. I called myself a later life activist, as during my young years (the CND and Greenham Common years) I was too preoccupied with working and bringing up children to even consider campaigning. At 70 I had a great opportunity to spend 3 months in Lima Peru as a volunteer with the Passionist Sisters. Now – approaching 80, I still go to a gym, a Spanish group, volunteer at the local community centre, try to limit my campaigning! and find great spiritual benefits from the company of my GOG friends. I also love spending time with my children and grandchildren.”