Great Yarmouth lady tap dances into her 90s

AT the ripe old age of 90, most people are usually looking forward to settling down in front of the television with a cup of tea and slippers.

But Caroline Bailey, of Great Yarmouth, certainly lives up to the cliche “you are only as old as you feel,” as she tap dances at St James Church Hall, in Admiralty Road, on a rain sodden Thursday afternoon.

For the mum-of-four is a regular at the weekly exercise sessions organised by fitness instructor Lorrain Dawson when members get the chance to show off their line, tap and hip-hop dancing skills.

Former munitions factory worker Mrs Bailey even does weightlifting to keep her muscles toned and takes regular walks from her home at the former Royal Naval Hospital in Queens Road into the town centre to do her shopping.

And there cannot be many 90-year-olds who have recently been as far afield as California in the USA to visit relatives, as well as Israel and Jordan and who are planning trips to London to see the major sights, including the Houses of Parliament.

Mrs Bailey also used to attend night school for dressmaking and was a keen Scrabble player to keep her brain active, while gardening is another of her passions.

But the Yorkshire-born girl, who made detonators for explosive devices during the second world war, believes her healthy and active lifestyle is the reason for her longevity.

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Even her diet is tailored towards healthy eating – with pineapples, bananas and Kiwi fruit every day and a fibre-rich All Bran cereal for breakfast.

Tea usually consists of fresh fish or other fresh foods she has bought from the stalls at Yarmouth market after her daily walk into town.

She said: “I have had a good life and met some good friends throughout the years. It is important to keep active.”

Genetics may also be a factor in her longevity as her parents lived to be 93 and 97 while one of her brothers lived to 85.

Her children are John, 51, Mary Bailey, 61, and Susan Robinson, 65, who lives near her at the Naval Hospital. Her other child, Martin, died aged 26.