Old Chicks Rock: Venture out alone for the things you love and make friends along the way!

Hazel Dawson, aged 62 from Manchester, shares the loves and lessons of her life, proving that ‘Old Chicks Rock’.

Here are her top tips on living life to the full – and not being afraid of venturing out alone for the things you love, which can make you friends along the way!

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching…

I have always loved music and those who remember the Hardrock and village disco/nightclub in Stretford, Manchester, I went there with my group of friends from age 14 and used to queue overnight for tickets for gigs, I found other like-minded people who came together with their love of music, no matter what size or race or anything… this part of my life continues. Music is, to me, without boundaries of generations. I go and see and listen to music I like because I found early on in life that doing things to please others all the time made me sadder – so I went to things I wanted to go to alone and met other people with shared common interests… basically, I saw the value of doing things for me.

Nowadays, I go to several rock concerts a year and after one lovely young man said he would protect me in the mosh pit I bought a tee-shirt in pink that says Old Chicks Rock!

I wear it proudly and feel in tune with the old rock groups I go to see now who are the ones I grew up with – but it is equally as enjoyable seeing young headbangers following them too. I feel I fit in well with the old and new rock crowds. As the saying goes, sing like no one is listening and dance like no one is watching… I spent years feeling I couldn’t dance alone to a song I loved in case people looked and laughed… I really don’t care now –  I wish I had known this in my teens, I would have grown up a bit happier.

Keep the Red Flag Flying High

I am Manchester born and bred – and a “red” pretty much from birth: my mother was a passionate United fan and when Munich happened apparently I was at the ground in the pram where my mum mourned her beloved team.

She took me to my first match when I was 10 versus Northampton and that’s when the love affair started.

I followed United home, away and abroad for many years and I felt the pain and joy and took it personally, it was here that I got in with a group of fans who also went alone to matches and this group became my other group of people alone doing things together.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

Sport has always been an important part of my life – not just spectating, but playing – and I was a keen netballer and cross-country runner at school.

I saw an advert on social media 12 years ago about Back to Netball – my first love – so I went along and years on still I still play in a weekly league and in tournaments. I love the teamwork and feel-good factor and have since trained in level 2 coaching. Keeping fit and trying new sports helps me stay active and meet new friends – I have recently joined an outdoor gym which has challenged me in many ways – including putting me to work on an army assault course! There are courses out there that match any person’s age, size or ability – and if I can do it, anyone can do it.

Always have a goal to work towards

Sport has also helped me to give back to the community – I have organised many charity events from Zumbathons and netball tournaments to charity music nights and quizzes and raised thousands of pounds. I love doing it and every event gives me a new target to work towards. Always have a goal and never give up on it.



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