For Wigan pensioner John life begins at 80

John starts a new life after eight decades
John starts a new life after eight decades

Widow gains new lease for life by embracing his dream of becoming a singer...

They say life begins at 40. I’m having none of it, having been in a snoozy, relaxed mood since I was about 32.

But today, we’re meeting an amazing man by the name of John Quinlan.

He’s enjoying a new life at the age of 81. And he is now convinced that the later years need not be quietly ruled by pipe, slippers and daytime television.

For decades, John harboured a secret desire to, well, sing for his supper. His late brother was a vocalist but John could never quite pluck up the courage to follow in his footsteps.

Long retired, he had time on his hands. Sadly losing his wife some years ago, he met the ever-enthusiastic Kath – and she encouraged him to “have a musical go”.

“I just needed a bit of a push,” he said. And it was after seeing the local group Rare Owd Times performing that he at last stepped up to their microphone. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Last week, at the Pear Tree on Frog Lane, it was John’s big moment of glory when, to mark his 81st birthday, he was the concert front man, with Steve Higgins and Lawrence Hoy of Rare Owd Times acting as his backing group.

Said John: “This really is a dream come true and I want to give out the message that life can really take off again despite the passing of the years.” Now married to Kathleen, John said: “I suppose some people might take the view that at 80 it’s too late to start something completely new. I’d like to tell them to have a go.

“Music is now such a big part of my life and I love entertaining people with lots of old numbers.

“The Pear Tree has become a very popular venue for live music and the landlords Shaun and Marie Donnell deserve praise.”

And among the guests hearing John sing was his son David and his wife Aileen from York and other friends.

Kath said: “I’m very proud of John. He’s a wonderful husband and a great musician.”