LYNDA Bellingham really feels age doesn’t matter.
So much so, she’s more than happy to get her kit off next week when she stars as Chris (Helen Mirren’s part in the film) in Calendar Girls, at the Opera House in the Winter Gardens.
As a model for isme, a new range of clothing tailored specifically for 40-plus women, Lynda is certainly getting used to strutting her stuff – at the age of 63.
Lynda, who made her name on shows such as All Creatures Great and Small, Faith in the Future and famously as the Oxo mum in the 16 year ad campaign, is passionate in her belief women can shine whatever their age.
“The perception of ageing is completely different nowadays,” she said. “I remember at 45, my own mother was considered old, nowadays that’s definitely not so.
“I’m a do-er who loves being on the go all the time, I’m one of those people who can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner of life.
“At one stage I did think ‘what will happen when I get older? Will I just end up sitting around because everything’s tailed off?’
“Showbusiness can be tricky for women as they get older. But that hasn’t happened and I feel so lucky to be enjoying a lot of success at the moment.”
Currently losing weight through the Dukan diet, Lynda has found personal happiness after marrying property developer Michael Pattemore – who she met in Spain and is eight years her junior.
“When happiness comes later in life, you don’t take it for granted, you really appreciate it,” says Lynda, who had a roller-coaster ride through two marriages - the first was unconsummated and in the second she reportedly suffered physical and mental abuse.
The mum-of-two – who was adopted as a four-month-old baby – said: “I was on my own for 10 years before I met Michael and didn’t want a relationship just for the sake of it. That can be more lonely than being on your own.
“But we have so much in common - we share a sense of humour and he’s romantic.
“To tease me about our age difference on our wedding day, he gave me a Zimmer frame with a personalised number plate!”
Lynda credits Michael with turning her life around, as together they gave up drinking.
“I was never an alcoholic, but my drinking was a problem. It had a depressant effect and a negative impact on my life. I haven’t drunk for seven years and I find I have so much more energy now and so much more time.”
Although Lynda had an idyllic childhood in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, with her English adoptive parents, she struggled with insecurities.
She was born in Canada to Majorie Moorhouse whose lover – an American sailor – deserted her when he discovered she was pregnant.
Lynda said: “My parents were fantastic and brought me up with a huge belief in people, but secretly I had a lack of self-worth.
“I think is has a lot to with being adopted and a sense of abandonment.
“I know it sounds a bit ‘psycho babble’ but there’s no doubt I wanted to please more than most and was driven to be successful to prove to my parents they were right to adopt me.”
But Lynda tries not to dwell on the past – focusing instead on the present.
“It’s brilliant meeting so many women - like me, of a certain age - through appearing in Calendar Girls, working for isme and working on Loose Women.
“I just want to show them there’s no need to feel in your 50s or 60s that you’ve got to wind down, feel invisible or just sit and wait for death. Life’s pretty good and if you embrace it, you can have a fantastic time.
“I certainly am and I’ve learnt over the years there is always a reason why something happens and I try to remember that, take any lessons I can from it and believe all experiences end up enriching your life.”
* Lynda married Michael on her 60th birthday
* At 63, she is the oldest member of the Loose Women panel on the ITV1 show
* Lynda has two sons from her second marriage - actor Michael, 28, who has a role in Calendar Girls and Robbie, 23, in hotel management
* Calendar Girls runs at Blackpool Opera House from September 26 until October 1. For tickets, call 0844 856 1111
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