Letter: Dignified old age

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The Independent Culture
Dignified old age

Sir: As one of the "moth-eaten tribe" (I am in my early seventies) referred to by John Walsh on 21 July (Review front), may I suggest that Mr Walsh is perhaps moving in the wrong circles to get a true picture of Britain's older generation?

For instance, was he in London on 19 September last year when 5,000 pensioners marched, walked or were pushed in wheelchairs to Trafalgar Square? They were campaigning for a state pension, paid for during a lifetime of work and service to their country, that would take them and millions of their fellows out of poverty.

Was he in Blackpool in May this year when 2,000 pensioners, each representing thousands of their comrades who could not make it for financial or medical reasons, met for three days to press for a better deal? Nearly three-quarters of today's pensioners in this affluent country have incomes less than Age Concern say is required for a dignified life.

John Walsh may plead ignorance because, sadly, neither of the above events - nor any other pensioner campaign - was reported by the national media.

However, perhaps he can spare the time to be at the Embankment at 1pm on 18 September and march with us to Trafalgar Square to remind the Prime Minister that his pre-election promises to pensioners have not been kept. He will then see that we are not a moth-eaten tribe but dignified people fighting for the basic principles so cogently set out by Jack Jones in his Right of Reply (22 July).

CLIFF FULLER

Churchdown, Gloucestershire

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