CHARLES GRAHAM - Call time on career

MOST people, I think, realise when it is the right time to call it a day. A lot of teachers I know are dreading the prospect of standing in front of a boisterous class until the age of 67 and I am sure many other British workers - particularly those in heavy manual or very stressful jobs - will feel the same.

Sometimes you can take matters into your own hands as to when to retire though, whether that be for financial reasons or because you know you are, for want of a better term, past your prime and are able to do so.

Queen of the pool Rebecca Adlington decided the other day that at 23 the best of her swimming days were now behind her.

And Pope Benedict XVI, 62 years her senior, has now come to the same conclusion. While breaking with a near 600-year tradition, I think it was the right thing to do if he feels his body will no longer let him do his job properly.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands barely caused a stir earlier this year by announcing her abdication at the age of 75.

After all it is quite normal practice in her country simply to hand on the baton to the next generation when you’ve had enough.

And while there looks little likelihood of our own Queen’s giving up the crown any time soon (not least because abdication is much more of a rarity in the UK), I think the country should be mature enough to accept such a decision if it comes.

Everyone deserves to put their feet up eventually if they want to.