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Young at Heart - When Life Begins at 95

Luglio 2008
Nominato volontario dell’anno, il neozelandese George Anderson andò in pensione 43 anni fa, e da allora non ha mai smesso di aiutare il prossimo. Sarà questo il segreto della sua salute di ferro?

di Julian Earwaker

File audio:

George Anderson
George Anderson

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent):

Volunteering comes naturally to some people – and to some cultures. In New Zealand it is estimated that more than 15 per cent of the population regularly carries out organised voluntary work.
George Anderson, who lives in Waikanae, a coastal town of 8,000 people on North Island, recently won the Kapiti Coast Volunteer of the Year award. He is still active, in spite of being 95 years of age.


An electrical engineer by trade, George Anderson was born and raised on a farm in Invercargill on South Island. He has three children and was married for 53 years until the death of his wife. He retired from work aged 62, but decided to keep himself busy, visiting sick people or invalids, volunteering at his local church and helping in the community.
A keen bagpiper and a man proud of his Scottish heritage, Anderson played in a police band for 14 years. Now, every Monday, he volunteers at the local police station, where he answers queries and complaints. He admits that people are often surprised to find someone of his age on duty!
George Anderson still drives and has been delivering meals on wheels for more than 20 years. A popular figure in the community, Anderson usually has a smile upon his face and an anecdote ready to tell. So it’s not surprising to learn that for many years now he has had a show on the community radio station. A keen radio ham since 1933, he enjoys chatting to other radio enthusiasts and never misses a chance to help people:

George Anderson (New Zealand accent):

Over the years I’ve had one or two interesting things where a boat was stuck out in the middle of the ocean, with a broken-down engine, the diesel had got saltwater in it. And... and I heard them calling and I made contact with them and they were asking if I could help them because their diesel was phut because salt air... saltwater had got into it. And I said, “Well, I’m not a diesel engineer, I’m electrical, but I’ve got a diesel engineer friend in Wellington, if you stand by for an hour or two, I’ll get in touch with him,” which I did, and he gave me all the instructions what they were to do and I relayed it back to them and next day they called me to say they were underway again.


Full of life, and an example to all, George Anderson has more energy than many people half his age. A modest man with a wicked sense of humour, he even managed to joke about receiving his Volunteer of the Year award:

George Anderson:

I mentioned that people who received these awards were always very humble. And I said, “I’m not in the slightest bit humble.” I said, “My ego’s gone up to the ceiling!”
Well, there was a roar went up! How can you be humble when you’re appreciating something?!

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carries out - svolge.

by trade - di professione.

born and raised on a farm - nato e cresciuto in una fattoria.

keen bagpiper - entusiasta suonatore di cornamuse.

proud... heritage - fiero delle sue origini scozzesi.

queries and complaints - domande e reclami.

on duty - in servizio.

has been delivering meals on wheels - distribuisce pasti a domicilio.

radio ham - radioamatore.

never misses a chance - non perde mai un’occasione.

stuck out - bloccata.

broken-down engine - motore in panne.

saltwater - acqua di mare (salata).

phut - guasto.

I relayed it back to them - lo ritrasmisi a loro.

underway - in viaggio.

wicked - forte.

humble - umile.

my ego’s gone up the ceiling - il mio io è alle stelle (lett, al soffitto).