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From sliding down banisters to botox ... how these four local celebrities are ageing disgracefully

By Mary Johnston

Denise Watson (44) is a radio and TV presenter/reporter for UTV and U105. She lives in Lisburn with her husband David Scott (45) and their two daughters Samantha (11) and Beth (7). She says:

Growing older doesn't phase me at all. In fact, I embrace ageing. I tell everybody my age and I don't have a problem with that at all. As I get older, I feel more secure and comfortable in my own self than I ever have.

As someone who played sport at a high level when I was younger, I have had a lot of problems with my knees and ankles. When I walk upstairs now, I can hear my knees clicking. But all that I worry about with regard to age is that I can stay healthy enough to be there for my two girls as they grow up. I do everything I can to ensure that I'm healthy, such as eating well.

Botox or surgery wouldn't be something I would do, as I hate anyone fiddling with my face. I know I have wrinkles, so I regret going to sunbeds and lying for hours in the sun when I was a teenager without proper sun protection. But that's just what we did in the Eighties."

Pamela Ballantine (57), host of UTV Life, lives in Belfast. She says:

Age is just a number. It has never bothered me. When I was 40, the party went on for a week and when I was 50 it lasted 10 days, so goodness knows what will happen when I turn 60.

As I have got older, I actually feel more confident in myself, both in work and my identity. I'm not sure that it's as the saying goes 'with age, comes wisdom', but certainly with age, comes experience.

At this stage of my life I know what is right for me. There is nothing I cannot do now, there are some things I wouldn't do - such as run round in a crop top with my belly out - I think Ulster has suffered enough. I wouldn't do a bungee jump, but I wouldn't have done it when I was 20 either. I will still abseil off the top of buildings and drive fast cars, and I will definitely still slide down banisters."

Jo-Anne Dobson (50) is an Ulster Unionist MLA for Upper Bann. She lives on a farm in Waringstown with her husband John and their two sons Mark (22) and Elliott (25). She says:

I turned 50 this year, and I feel as long as I have my health and the right attitude, age doesn't matter. I embrace life as I lost my best friend, Louise Peacock, in January. She was just 48 and had been terminally ill with breast cancer.

So age is about having the right mindset where you value every single day and don't get hung up on things. We are all only here for a short time, so we should make the most of our time. My mum, Joanie, who is in her 60s, is an inspiration to me. She has a great attitude to life. It's easy to get depressed about getting older when, in fact, you should be making the most of your time and living your life to the full."

Vinny Hurrell (33), who lives in north Belfast, is a presenter on Radio Ulster and hosts his own topical late-night show. He says:

My age on an old website is still 28, even though I am in my 30s now, so I must be more concerned about ageing that I think. When I was in my teens I used to wish I was older, so I could do what I wanted and be in control of my life.

Now it feels as though time has passed very quickly.

I like to give myself goals to tick them off in terms of my career and my personal happiness. My big concern is that I won't achieve them. In terms of my physical appearance, I do go to the gym four times a week as I was quite chubby at school and lacked confidence.

While I am training to stay healthy, I also don't want my belly hanging out either. Although I'm too young now and don't need treatments such as Botox, I wouldn't rule it out when I get older if I need it. I don't think I wouldn't consider surgery and I'd like to think if I took it too far, my family would tell me to stop, so I didn't end up looking like Jackie Stallone."

  • Interviews by Helen Carson

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