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93-year-old takes up French lessons

PUBLISHED: 15:32 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:11 13 July 2010

They say you are never too old to learn and, according to Sheringham great-great grandmother Ena Moss, not only does gaining new skills help keep your mind active, it broadens the horizons and enables you to meet people and make new friends.

They say you are never too old to learn and, according to Sheringham great-great grandmother Ena Moss, not only does gaining new skills help keep your mind active, it broadens the horizons and enables you to meet people and make new friends.

For Ena, 93, has just become the latest - and oldest - student at a conversational French class run by retired modern languages teacher Audrey Brayne.

"They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks," said Mrs Moss, "but why shouldn't you be able to learn something new, just because you are older?"

As a mother of 13, Mrs Moss had little time for furthering her education as a young woman, but still managed to help her husband run a florist shop in Station Road, Sheringham, also looking after 5 allotments.

After retiring in 1973, she was bitten by the travel bug, and, has since visited countries including Germany, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus and the US, also taking a trip down the Nile and travelling to the world's northernmost fishing village in Norway.

She now has an incredible 37 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great grandchildren and decided to take up learning French after visiting tenth child Rebecca, who 5 years ago bought a vineyard near Bergerac.

"I met a lovely old lady there, but all I could say in French was, "Hello, how are you", so I'm determined that, next time I go, I'll be able to talk to her," Mrs Moss said. "The other thing was that, in summer, I have plenty of gardening to keep me going, but, although I do jigsaws and crosswords, I can get a bit bored in winter."

Mrs Brayne who, at 81, admits to being no spring chicken herself, teaches French and German to the over 50s through the University of the Third Age, a volunteer-run organisation providing educational, leisure and creative opportunities to older people.

"To be honest, I thought Ena was my age," she said. "I was just so amazed at how bright and active she is and, although I have other students in their 80s, she's definitely the oldest person I've taught."

Mrs Moss, who is currently busy planning a trip to the Azores, added that taking up French had given her a taste for learning new skills.

"I'm a big reader and I've always been interested in history, so I think that is probably what I'll think about doing next," she said.


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