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83 and always learning

When Wyn Sheryn retired, he found himself with some extra time on his hands. Now, at the age of 83, he is still hand-making furniture for his loved ones.

Wyn started his career working in education, then went into leisure management before retiring. “I’ve had a very full life” Wyn tells us. Now, to keep busy in retirement, Wyn volunteers, travels with his wife, he’s learning to speak Welsh, and amongst everything, he continues to make furniture for his family and friends.

When Wyn retired, he found some extra time on his hands. That’s when a close friend mentioned Burnley College and suggested Wyn set his sights on something new.

As soon as Wyn saw the set up at the college for cabinet making, he knew he had found his place.

“I’ve always had an interest in tools and wood and making things” Wyn tells us, “so I enrolled in a course in furniture making – there was level one, level two all through to level six – I did them all”.

Retraining after he had retired is something that Wyn is hugely proud of. He spent six years with Burnley College altogether.

“The tutor said to me, “there’s nothing else for you to do, you’ve got to do your own thing!”, so I came back to my workshop”.

“The sad thing was I don’t have any machines like the college did, so I started making things with my hands and my family seem to like them, so I keep going.”

“I go around to my friends’ houses and there are pieces of furniture they have that I made for them” – but I’d forgotten about it, that’s always great. I make trays for people and being served tea on one of your own trays – I like that!”

I’m too young to be this old!”

Wyn believes that cabinet making is helping to keep his brain “ticking over” as he grows older.

Although there are days where he’d rather sit down and put his feet up, he tells us that he’s just not that type of a person to sit around all day, he likes to keep busy.

“My work is now a hobby and I can shut the door on it and not come back, but other times, you get on a roll you can’t wait to get out and do it and to work again” he continues.

Wyn’s signature style of cabinet making came to him after he discovered the Shaker movement. “A stick back chair is a thing of beauty, so I’ve made six for my family”.

“That’s one of the best things about getting older”, Wyn tells us - your family getting bigger.

“I have a wonderful family” he says, and “I married a wonderful woman, she made me who I am”. Along with Mary, Wyn’s life was heavily influenced by his parents.

“The basis of a good life is education” he says, “my parents drummed it into me.”

He passed this mantra on to his own children, and the kids he taught at school, that you must always keep exploring and to not “settle for the easy life”.

“Keep exploring and keep looking sideways!” he adds, “you must have ambition”.

Wyn making furniture

It’s Wyn’s ambition that has kept him learning and moving forward at age 83 and beyond. After he had started his course at Burnley College, he received a gold medal from the City and Guild – the people running the course recommended him for the Lifelong Learner award.

“The awards ceremony was in the Roundhouse in London. I heard them talking about the winner and I was thinking “I wonder if I know them” and it was me - now I have this superb piece of crystal” he tells us.

“I’ve met some nice people through cabinet making” Wyn continues. “Feeling a connection with the past is an essential element when making furniture”.

“Many people ask me what’s the difference between cabinet making and wood working. Many people who are woodworkers make very fine pieces of work. Cabinet making leans towards the fine side, the microscopic side” he explains.

“A cabinet maker from 200 years ago made everything by hand, that’s really what it’s about. I use machinery sometimes, but it comes back to that moment when you have to use your hand skills.”

“I had to perfect my hand skills in college” he says, “when you finish a piece of work, and you rub your hand over it, you really feel something then.”

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). 

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

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My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

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Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

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SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

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SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.