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Playing and singing makes me feel energised

Chris didn't learn to play the guitar until he was 50. Now he's in the studio recording and has never been happier.

Meet Chris

When Chris was given a guitar for his 50th birthday, he had no idea what effect it would have on his life – and probably nor did the person who gave it to him. But Chris says the timing was perfect. "It was at a time when I started not to really care about if I was too old – it was more about me just enjoying the process of what I was doing."

Learning something new isn't always easy, but right from the start, Chris found playing the guitar really relaxing. And once it got him singing along too, he says it was physically energising – and even at times, exhilarating. In fact, unexpectedly, he's found playing the guitar almost addictive.

Chris is now 55 and his 'addiction' has led him to pen a few songs of his own. His favourite spot to let his ideas flow freely is overlooking the spectacular Avon Gorge, near his home in Bristol. It's here that he'll happily spend a few hours, playing around with ideas, strumming chords and getting it all down in his notebook.

In fact, just two years after he first picked up a guitar, this rather special spot also inspired him to write a song for his daughter’s birthday. Slightly embarrassed, Chris says that the song, '24 Roses', was a terrible recording but it went down well all the same. We're not surprised – who wouldn't want a song written for them?

chris writing near the clifton suspension bridge bristol

We met up with Chris in the recording studio and he had some good advice for everyone of a certain age. He said: "If you feel like you're too old to start learning an instrument, just pick it up and enjoy it. It's just about engaging with the instrument and having some fun".

Chris's new-found attitude to life has also made him think about his kids and he wants them to grasp any opportunities that come their way. He tells them: "Really enjoy the moment and enjoy what's going on around you. The future is open and the present is open". That's probably good advice no matter how old you are.

But Chris hasn't always embraced the future. When younger, he found the idea of getting older scary, the idea that he'd be thinking about death. But today he's much more relaxed about everything, even when it comes to his funeral plans. When the time comes, he'd like a Viking funeral – just put on a boat and pushed out to sea, while somebody shoots it with a flaming arrow! Not your typical funeral but as Chris has proved, when you get older, you can forget the rules. When asked what it feels like to be 55, Chris says: "This is me time and life's exciting".

chris in the recording studio

Many thanks to Puzzlemakerstudios for letting us use their recording studios to hear Chris play his music.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, 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). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

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 the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

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.

Who provides the Will writing services?

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.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

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.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

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.