Director’s Blog: They shall not grow old…



Written by Susan Langford, Magic Me Founder & Director, April 2024

They shall not grow old…

Last Thursday 25th April I was changing tube trains at Mile End Station, east London, when I noticed a lady in the crowd. She was carefully rearranging a set of military medals pinned to her not-military jacket, on which was embroidered New Zealand

My train came in and I didn’t have a chance to ask her, but I imagined she was on her way to the annual ANZAC Day events in central London. ANZAC Day was first observed in 1916 to remember the Australian and New Zealander soldiers killed and wounded at Gallipoli in the First World War.

She was old enough to have served at some point and earned those medals herself, or maybe she’d inherited them and wore them for an older generation. Her care and pride in them stayed with me. 

This week has also been Global Intergenerational Week, a celebration across nations of the joy, power and many benefits generated when people of different ages come together. At the heart of Magic Me’s intergenerational work we challenge ageism. We are questioning the assumptions we can fall into about other people, older or younger than we are. How they look, what they do, who they are. 

And challenging the sometimes limiting assumptions we make about ourselves: what we should be, do, have, at the age we’ve got to. 

As I left that lady waiting on the platform some words were going round in my head. Words that I’ve seen all my life on memorials, or heard read in solemn tones:


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old *


Words for a lost generation, the ones who didn’t come back. The young men and women who didn’t get to find out what it’s like to have lots of ‘big’ birthdays and feel yourself growing and changing as the years go by. 

So this Intergenerational Week, whatever your years, take a moment to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come. And when our next birthdays come around, let’s not limit ourselves with worry about being another year older – let’s celebrate that we’re here and make the most of it, together. 


* For the Fallen