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Make it Ageless goes to Brussels and meets Mamy Rock!

15 May 2012

Support Make It Ageless

A Saturday in Brussels

Getting up at six in the morning on a Saturday when you have a wretched cold isn't exactly everyone's idea of fun. But strangely enough, I didn't actually mind too much. I was in Brussels, joining my colleagues Ellen and Navdha to promote the Make it Ageless campaign at the European Parliament Open Day

Soon enough I was dusting the croissant crumbs off my Make it Ageless T shirt and trying without much luck to put up posters and banners in the sharp Belgian wind.

An intergenerational movement The Make It Ageless booth at the EU Open Dayof solidarity

By nine we were manning our stall outside the European Parliament ready to tell the world about a unique movement of younger Europeans championing the rights of older people and calling on the European Union to Make it Ageless.

Every month, one million people celebrate their 60th birthday. Older people are an incredible driving force for development but all too often, a longer life can mean more years living in poverty.

Make it Ageless is encouraging young Europeans to show their solidarity with older people and let MEPs and Commissioners know that many countries are getting older before they get richer. The European Union, the world's largest aid donor needs to recognise this - now.

Support of enthusiastic public and MEPs

Youngsters show their support for Make It Ageless by signing our petitionI must say I was very pleasantly surprised by how many members of the general public were willing to sign the petition. It was clear that many were won over by what in itself is not a controversial message. Austrian Member of European Parliament (MEP), Hans Becker was one of the enthusiastic petitioners joining us at the stall and he was eager to lend his support.

I have to say there were a few times I did feel that my spiel fell on deaf ears, not because the listener was resistant to the argument that older people should be included in development policy, but merely because I hadn't cottoned on to their lack of English.

As the day wore on the number of petition signatures rose with steadiness. However, if we had charged for the sweets lying between our leaflets and campaign materials, then the Belgian waffles would have been on us come the evening.

Rocking the Parliament

In the afternoon, Navdha and I had an appointment with the world's greatest DJ and were ushered to the backstage area, ready for our appointmentDJ Mamy Rock supports Make It Ageless.

Ruth Flowers a.k.a Mamy Rock is a 72-year-old from Bristol, and she happens to be one of the most critically acclaimed and popular DJs in the world.

Mamy Rock is no novelty, she is the real deal when it comes to the dirtiest beats and an ability to command clubbers across the world.

Despite the magnum of champagne next to her, Mamy Rock moves to her own beat and seemed quite happy with her cup of Earl Grey tea.

Mamy Rock is indeed an inspiration! She chatted with us about care homes for older people, her childhood and how she became a DJ. She was very keen to show her support for older people's rights and the Make it Ageless campaign, and also signed one of our T shirts!

Soon our brush with fame was over and we returned to the stall to convert yet more people to the Make it Ageless cause. By half past five it was time to pack up, reflect on a job well done, enjoy a glass of Duvel and join Mamy Rock as she did what she does best with a set that left the people of Brussels wanting more.

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John McGeachy
Job title: Campaigns assistant

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.