Robert L.D. Cooper  Author, Historian, Freemason.

Default Retirement Age

November 21st, 2018 by Robert Cooper


Some of you will know that my late wife suffered a severe stroke in February 2014 and passed away in May 2015. We had intended to retire at the same time in April 2017 and had many plans for travel, photography and revamping our home. Alas it was not to be. Then I experienced another ‘bump in the road’ of life when in June 2017 the quadriceps tendons in my right leg ruptured forcing me to spend some time in Boston General Hospital, Massachusetts, USA . That stay was followed by another in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (EIR) also in June 2017. Then following another rupture of the same tendon in August I was back in the RIE. The wound became seriously infected and I spent my 65th birthday in the RIE being an inpatient for more than five weeks throughout September.

Lying in hospital for a long period was one of the worst experiences of my life. The staff were lovely but with hardly any visitors (Scottish Masonic Lodges are mostly closed until October) and no internet access (can you imagine?!) it was a pretty miserable time.

There was was only one bright spot and that was down to the fact that I had not retired. Lying in hospital pondering things, it became clear that, as I had no retirement plan, and as no ideas came to me about what I could/would do with myself should I actually retire, there was no point in retiring.

I had been under the impression that I had to retire at 65 unless my employer wished me to continue working. A hospital visitor, a minister from the Church of Scotland, explained that things had changed. The default retirement age (65) had been scrapped in 2011 and no one could be forced to retire simple because of their age – whoopee! This change in the law came about because of very effective campaign but the charity AgeUK 

Now I could plan for my non-retirement. All the projects for the Grand Lodge of Scotland could now be continued and new ones commenced. Although it would be several months before I could return to the office (and initially only on restricted hours) I am now finally back in the office full time. Although walking is a problem (all three surgeries were failures) I still have all my marbles!


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