When we first came up with the idea of making six short documentaries celebrating the lives of our older neighbours, our aim was to demonstrate the range of passions, interests, eccentricities and personalities of some of the hundreds of over-65s North London Cares works with across Camden and Islington.

Of course, within a few short films, it’s impossible to capture all of that spirit. The reason we love our area is that it’s such a diverse place: no two people are the same, and while long lives have a handful of shared moments and criss-crossing trajectories, individual experiences are unique.

With “Albert”, however, the last of our Hidden Heroes films to be released online, we hope there is something for everyone. At 88 Albert retains some of childhood’s most endearing qualities. He is playful, adventurous, cheeky and fun. New experiences aren’t something to be afraid of; they’re to be embraced.

Albert only started running at 57 - and continued until he was 84.

Albert only started running at 57 – and continued until he was 84.

Until very recently – well his 84th birthday – Albert was a runner and keen martial artist. The joy with which he tells of throwing a 6-footer to the floor is boundless. He’s also a pianist, film lover, thinker and storyteller. He understands the world around him, and is at ease with his role in it.

The final shot in this film shows the modern world busily and anonymously going about its business. The city is chaotic and forgetful, but amid the mayhem Albert gets his head down and gets on with his day. Time goes quick but he goes slow. That feels like a fitting way to close the Hidden Heroes series.

We’re really grateful to Tim Marrinan for making these films with us, and of course to Kentishtowner for releasing them over the past six weeks. We hope you’ve enjoyed watching them and will continue to share them with friends and family in our local communities and beyond.

[box] To watch the other videos in this series click here. [/box]

Alex Smith is founder of North London Cares, a volunteer network matching young professionals to older neighbours in need of help, social connection or companionship. Find out more about them here.

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