Monica's amazing challenge proves you're never too old to learn

Moncia White, from Blakeney, who has tried 12 new foods including yoghurt and blueberries. Picture:

Monica White, from Blakeney, who has tried 12 new foods including yoghurt and blueberries. - Credit: Danielle Booden

She may have been around the sun 90 times, but until this year, Monica White had never tried yogurt or blueberries. 

It was out of a desire to broaden her horizons and escape the funk of the third lockdown that the Blakeney 89-year-old decided to embark on a 'Fit Mind 50 challenge' which involves trying or learning about 50 new things. 

Mrs White said: "I'm nearly 90 and I'm not fully mobile, and I was getting really fed up with lockdown. 

"This has really been my salvation and it does show you're never too old to learn. If I hadn't been doing the challenges I might have just slipped into watching television all the time.

"This has really got me going again."

Moncia White, from Blakeney, who has tried gardening for the first time. Picture: Danielle Booden

Monica White, from Blakeney, who has got into gardening as part of the challenge. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mrs White, who has severe rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and a degenerative spinal chord condition, took up the challenge after her daughter, Sarah Bocking, told her about it in February. 

She has so far completed almost 40 of the activities she set herself, including learning about Anglo-Saxon poetry, using 12 new recipes and trying 12 foods she had never eaten before, taking up the piano after a long break and organising a birthday garden party for herself and her brother-in-law. 

Most Read

"I also decided to walk one mile for every year of my life," Mrs White said. "I've been doing it since April, doing the 0.8 mile walk down to the shops and back. I completed it on Friday last week after six months.

Moncia White, from Blakeney, who has learnt to play piano. Picture: Danielle Booden

Monica White, from Blakeney, who has learnt to play piano. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"The challenge has also got me using the computer more and I've been much more active in the garden.

"I've tried making lasagne and moussaka, and I've been using a lot of herbs and spices which I hadn't done in the past. 

"I have found some food I like and some I don’t like so much. I had never tried yogurt in my life but I have now and I really like it. I also tried blueberries for the first time."

Mrs White, a retired lecturer who taught genetics, said she would continue until she reached 50 new things, and one future activity she wanted to try was painting. 

She added: "When I tell my friends they've been inspired to learn about new things as well."

Her birthday is on November 18. 

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, in the garden. 

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, in the garden. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, tending to plants. 

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, tending to plants. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, reading poetry.

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, reading poetry. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking

Monica White

Monica White, in the front row, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, at a garden party she organised. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, on a walk.

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, on a walk. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, playing piano.

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, playing piano. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, in the kitchen. 

Monica White, who has been trying new things as part of a challenge, in the kitchen. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Bocking


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter