Sheringham businesses grow

According to Sheringham financial advisor Pam Blyth, age is no barrier to reaching the top of the career ladder, and for women in business, 60 is the new 40.

According to Sheringham financial advisor Pam Blyth, age is no barrier to reaching the top of the career ladder, and for women in business, 60 is the new 40.

A mother of 4 and grandmother of eleven, Pam, who turned 60 last August, trained as an independent financial advisor 18 years ago. And, in spite of already running 2 business - and spending at least 26 days a year sitting in court as a magistrate - she this year spotted a gap in the market and decided to set up yet another company.

Named Delphinium, after her favourite flower, Pam's latest venture aims to provide specialist financial advice solely for the over 60s.

“What I wanted to do was to make sure that people who have retired, or who are about to retire, get advice tailored specifically to their needs,” she said.

Pam, who last year won appeals for two clients fighting for NHS care funding, aims to offer a one-to-one service advising on key retirement issues including life assurance, inheritance tax, long term care funding, and retirement and tax planning

“What worried me was that retired people who have been saving all their lives can't afford to lose any of their capital, and, over the years, my concern has grown about the type of advice elderly people and their families are getting,” she explained.

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Pam threw herself into community life when she moved to Sheringham nearly 30 years ago. A founder member of a fundraising group for the town's health centre, she helped raise cash for nebulisers, foetal heart monitors and ECG machines by coming up with money-making ideas ranging from cake sales to pulling a plane along the runway at Norwich Airport.

As a carnival committee member, in 1989 she hit on the idea of forming a morris dancing group. “It started out as another way of raising funds for the health centre, but, nearly 20 years later, Sheringham's Lobster Potties morris side is still dancing,” she explained.

At the beginning of 2007, Pam set up specialist long-term care advice company Anglia Care Co-ordinators with Norwich solicitors Clapham and Collinge.

And, despite also juggling the demands of helping to run the family holiday cottage business, she decided to apply to become a magistrate, and heard her first case at Great Yarmouth last January.

“I just felt that I had got to a stage in my life where I couldn't do morris dancing any more, but I still wanted to do something for the community,” Pam said. “I thought that this would be a good way of putting something back.”

Pam, who completed a year's training before qualifying, would like to see more young people applying to become magistrates.

“Once you understand how it all works it really opens your eyes,” she said. “And although it is quite a commitment, it is a fantastic experience, and you end up dealing with everything from traffic offences to theft.

Although she relies on a cleaner to keep her house spick and span, Pam does still find time away from her busy work schedule to look after her large garden, and to host regular dinner parties for friends with husband Tony.

“Age is not important to me, and sixty is nothing,” she says. “Having said that, it does of course have an impact on your energy levels when you get older, but it is just a matter of being organised.”

For Pam, staying active is the key to feeling young and, she says, being an older woman in business has never been easier.

“Mind you, whatever age you are, I do think women still have to work much harder than men to succeed, but if you enjoy what you do and learn to multitask, then the sky's the limit.”

And although officially of retirement age herself, she has no plans to give up work - not for another 10 years at least.

“Anyway, if I retire, it would mean I'd have to go home and do the housework,” she joked.