We do not even notice the age gap There’s a 12-year difference between Lisa De Rosa and Lorraine Kimber but they have so much else in common
I met Lisa at our local tennis club two years ago. I’d only just joined, and I spotted her immediately. She was full of life, making everyone roar with laughter. I remember thinking, I’d like to be friends with her. When we were introduced, the first thing Lisa did was smell me. She liked my Jo Malone perfume, and we bonded over beauty products and banter. Soon, she was marching up to anyone in the club who’d listen, telling them all to have a snif of me and sure enough, they did! I couldn’t help but warm to her directness. I’m someone who always says what they think, so it was like meeting a kindred spirit. I’m 12 years older than Lisa, and we lead very diferent day-to-day lives. She runs her own hairdressing business and has three small children, while I was an air hostess for 14 years and am now as she calls me a lady of leisure. When you make friends as adults, I do not think age matters at all. Lisa and I have loyalty, shared values and, of course, our naughty sense of humour. Often we know exactly what the other is thinking it is spooky how alike we are. The only time I remember that she’s younger than me is when we go on holiday together she wants to start the night at 11pm, but that’s when I’m ready for bed! I can’t imagine life without Lisa’s calmness, optimism and twinkling sense of fun. Every day, I try to be a bit more like her. I have found the friend I always wanted.
To me, outlook on life is far more important than age. Lorraine and I get on because we tend to look at things in a happy way, to find the fun in life. When we are together, we hardly ever stop laughing our husbands call us double trouble! The main thing I have learnt from Lorraine is to stay positive, even in the darkest times. When my dad died three years ago, she helped me through with kindness and wisdom. She’d lost her own father to cancer, too, so she knew exactly what I was going through. I call her Lush, because she smells lovely, dresses beautifully, and always has a smile on her face. We can chat for hours about the smallest of things. I could tell her anything and I know she wouldn’t ever pass judgement.
For 30 years, my dad volunteered with Contact The Elderly. Once a month, he’d drive lonely older guests to a tea party, where they’d chat and meet people. As a little girl, I remember thinking it sounded like great fun. When my dad died 10 years ago, I decided to follow in his footsteps and get involved. A group had just been set up in my local area so I went to the first meeting. When we had to find a new co-ordinator at short notice, one quiet, assured lady put her hand up to volunteer. She said her name was Sarah. Sarah and I quickly became close, bonding over a shared desire to support older people in our community. In many ways, we are opposites. I’m a social butterfly who’s always out and about, whereas she’s understated and incredibly eicient, like calm waters. She’s taught me the value of getting things done, and finding solutions without fuss or flapping. There are times when volunteering is tough. We often form strong attachments to the elderly people, and when they die, it can feel like you are losing a member of your family. When one lady I’d known for eight years passed away, I found it very diicult to cope, but Sarah understood what I was going through. Her unwavering support is invaluable. Nine years on, my friendship with Sarah goes far beyond the charity. I rely on her advice and soothing presence in all aspects of my life. I know she’ll always be there, loyal to the last. She’s the kindest person I know.
The main thing I remember about meeting Izzy is that she was the friendliest person in the room. I arrived at my first charity meeting unsure of what to expect. I hadn’t lived in the area long, and didn’t really know anyone. But when Izzy greeted me, full of smiles, I knew I was in safe hands. Initially, I joined the charity to meet people in my local community and help out once a month. Yet somehow, I volunteered as co-ordinator. I’m that person who puts their hand up and then lies awake at night worrying about how I will cope, but Izzy was fantastic. When drivers couldn’t make it, she roped in her husband. When tea party hosts dropped out, she ofered her house. I knew I could count on her. Early on in our friendship, my husband became seriously ill. Although I didn’t know Izzy well at that point, she was one of the first to turn up at my house, armed with biscuits and a big bunch of flowers. These days, we have each other on speed dial. Izzy’s warmth, generosity and abounding willingness to help set an inspiring example. She’s shown me that in life, you have always got a bit more to give. You just have to dig a little deeper.
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with a heart condition. It’s manageable, but I have sufered from palpitations for most of my life. Around six years ago, my doctor told me I should try to up my exercise to keep my heart strong and my weight down. So I decided to give Zumba a go. The first time I went to the class, I felt quite daunted. Here I was, a 6ft-tall woman with an apparent inability to pick up dance steps, in a village hall full of ladies brazenly shaking and shimmying. Becky, the instructor, stood at the front of the room. The first thing I noticed was that we were a similar height unusual when you are tall. She waved me over, and her friendly, reassuring manner instantly made me feel at ease. I knew we were going to get on. As the weeks progressed, Becky and I discovered we had a lot more in common, including a shared love of music. In my spare time I’m a singer songwriter, so when Becky suggested that we write a Zumba-themed song to perform at her annual Christmas party, I was delighted. We had a lot of fun singing about bingo wings and wobbly bits, and the performance was a huge success. We really bonded and realised that our voices worked extremely well together. Fast-forward six years, and we have done numerous gigs as a duo and released two albums, donating the proceeds to charity. Becky and I speak every day, and she’s always there to listen and ofer advice. Before I met her, I tended to worry a lot about what people thought, but Becky has taught me to relax and let go. Now, we have a promising music career, and I’m no longer afraid to be who I am. My life has completely changed for the better all because I went for a drink with the teacher!
When a new person joins a class, they are often a bit nervous, so I have to build up a fun, trusting environment. If someone’s going the wrong way, it does not matter it is just about having a good time. When Jacquie came in giggling, I knew that I wouldn’t need to worry. She soon got into the swing of things. I have always been interested in music, and as a teenager took part in amateur musical theatre. After I’d married and had children, I thought I’d missed the boat when it came to performing Then Jacquie came along. I thought I wouldn’t be good enough to sing with Jacquie, but she’s encouraged me to believe in myself. Now I have written several songs for our albums, something I never thought I’d have the confidence to do. To pick my passion back up again at this stage in my life is fantastic. I have Jacquie to thank for that.
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