Rik Mayall and the lottery of life


Jun 10, 2014
Rik Mayall and the lottery of life

As I flicked between news stations this morning, it struck me that there were reports of two extremes. The tragic death of a much loved comic genius Rik Mayall and the heart warming tale of twinkly eyed war veteran Bernard Jordan; the former a relatively young and apparently healthy 56 year old, the latter a soon to be 90 year old desperate to reach Normandy for the D-Day commemorations.

Some 30 odd years separate the two yet the sprightly ‘great escaper’ Bernard proved to be the stronger man at the end of the day, highlighting the fact that you never quite know what is waiting around the corner; the wonders of the lottery of life.

Of course Rik Mayall fought a battle of his own back in 1998 when he was left in a coma for several days after suffering what some thought would prove to be a fatal quad bike accident; yet he miraculously cheated death, surprising everyone by making a full recovery. To die at 56 is hard enough; to die at 40 is worse still so I guess he did have a further 16 precious years with his family.

That still doesn’t make it easy or right though does it?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all melancholic on you; situations like this just make you realise how precious and unpredictable life is.


According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2011 33,000 people in their 50s died, nearly 70,000 in their 60s, almost 125,000 in their 70s and a further 200,000 in their 80s. So where do we fit in? Is it a case of ‘come in number 56 your time is up’ as it was for Rik, or are you one of the centenarians in the making, ready to get your letter of congratulations for making it to the big 100 from the Queen, or King for that matter?

As the lottery states ‘it could be you’ you just don’t know. After all, isn’t that just what life is to some degree; a lottery! 


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

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