GENERATION AGELESS

Vicky Gilroy from Whitley Bay turned 50 earlier this year. She trained as a children’s nurse in 1985 and has had a varied career working with children, families and communities within the NHS, higher education and, more recently, the charitable sector. She is married with two daughters 16 and 21.
GENERATION AGELESS

Generation Ageless is about talking to people who have made interesting life/work changes and have a positive attitude to mid-life, doing things differently, changing their pace of life, their priorities, reflecting on what’s gone before and the new opportunities and challenges to come.

Vicky is also an awesome athlete – she completed her first Great North run at 26, this was followed over the last two  decades  by four marathons, numerous triathlons, the two-mile Great North Swim last year, a number of long distant cycle rides (Coast to Coast, London to Paris to name a few) and Sportive Cycle rides including the Majorca 167 (104 miles) this year as part of her 50th birthday celebrations.

She completed her first triathlon ten years ago in memory of her sister-in-law, an amazing sports woman tragically killed whilst out on her bike. 

She worked incredibly hard for triathlon (“I couldn’t do front crawl when I did my first triathlon”) and at  47 qualified for a European Age group Triathlon representing GB in Kitzbuhel  Austria.

I used to do this…

As a young person I was always active and had a passion for outdoors Although I did not really engage in structured sport until my late 20s. It was more about going out partying in those days.  After having my first daughter it was hard to get back to structure of fitting in regular exercise and it was easy not to be bothered.

GENERATION AGELESSNow life is about…

Enjoying each day for what it is, keeping fit and active are really important to me and I know that they help both my physical and mental health. My family is my number one priority and it’s really all about quality time with them while balancing work and friends.

How I made a change…

In 2000 I had a baby boy jack who was still born at 41 weeks, this had a significant impact on my husband and four-year-old daughter Hannah.

I was then on a mission to have another baby and in August 2001 gave birth to my second daughter Megan, unfortunately Megan spent her first week in special care before coming home.  During this time I was extremely anxious about life and its fragility, to the point it was making me ill. I was fortunate to have a great health visitor who suggested I had postnatal anxiety and referred me for specialist help.

The mental health nurse who came to see me at home was great and was able to support me to recognised my anxiety was justified but also help me to put in place a plan to reduce my stress. Exercise is recognised to be as effective as mild antidepressant medication.

My treatment plan involved setting a plan of regular exercise – running was my thing before my children so this was what the nurse prescribed. It worked and made me to feel better about myself and reduced my anxiety to a manageable level. I was converted and have never stopped running and exercising since.    

Family is all about…

Quality time laughs and memories. The children grow up so quickly you need to cherish every moment and ensure I give enough time for them.

I’m lucky I…

Have a great husband who also loves sport in fact our whole family is known as the fit family some people think we are a bit mad

I’ve got time for…

Most things I want to do, it’s just a case of giving them priority.

GENERATION AGELESSThings are different because…

I am getting older I ache a bit in the morning and if I get injured it takes a bit longer to get my fitness back. I’ve recently joined a boot camp which is challenging but is helping with core fitness.

A day in the life of me…

So, today I got up at 5am to take my daughter swimming then headed to boot camp at 6am after an hour of fun (torture), I picked my daughter up. A quick shower breakfast and then on with the day job. I am now working with the Institute of Health Visiting, a national charity supporting health visitors to deliver the best support to children and families. A key part of this role is supporting parity of esteem for perinatal mental health and area I am passionate about from my own experiences. It is a privilege to be able to now offer something back and hopefully make things better for other families.

Once the work is complete its cooking tea, walking the dog and hopefully then sitting down with a nice cuppa!

The people who are important…

The most important people to me are my family and close friends.

Work/life balance…

At times for all of us this can get out of kilter and there have been times in my career where work has definitely got the better of me. I will always prioritise my exercise as if gives me the head space to reflect and get things back in balance. At times this has led to a change of job as there has to be a balance.

I thrive on…

Fresh air, feeling fit, and being around people I love. I love to be busy and active. The best day is being out on my bike in good company with stunning countryside and then coming back to a great family meal.

What mid life means to me…

Looking forward to more active years having more time to do the things I love cycling walking and running with friends and family. Seeing my daughters blossom into great young women full of aspiration and energy for life. Planning my next sporting challenge, my next holiday, my next piece of work to try and make a difference to children and their families.

Most of all able being content and happy with my lot.


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