AGE is just a number, they say. For many mature people retirement is no longer a goal they work towards. While some are happy to sit back, take holidays and relax away from the routine that has been part of their life for so long, others are keen to carry on.

Among the growing number of people of retirement age are those who feel they still have plenty to contribute to Britain's economy, in terms of experience and expertise. And as well as keeping them and their brains active, it could also be keeping them young.

The competitive nature of the workplace prompts people to take pride in their appearance and the same goes for Britain's mature workforce.

Bradford businesswoman, Terry King, says: "If you're still working you're still on show, so you wear things that are smarter and more tailored. You pay for a decent haircut and you put make-up on. It is making an effort. There is the whole thing about appearance - being in work drives you to have that."

The 62-year-old, who was awarded the OBE for her 20-year career as a top project manager in the Department for Work and Pensions, is using her previous experience working in the mature enterprise sector to support the needs and aspirations of older people through Chapter 3 Enterprise, a community interest company she and her partners are busy developing.

"Retiring - that's going to bed! I don't ever see myself retiring from work," says Terry.

While she admits she doesn't want to work as she did during her full-time career, when she was averaging 50 hours a week and commuting to London, she was eager to continue with a career and, when faced with redundancy, decided to set up her own business.

Terry discovered that self-employment has brought many benefits, including the flexibility to fit around family life. "One of the benefits of running your own business is flexibility, taking time off to take my grandson, Dylan, out or have a round of golf," she says. "It is getting that balance.

"Working gives me purpose and some structure as well as supplementing my pension. I expect to work well into my 70s and beyond if I am able. Working gives me a reason to get up and wear something other than leggings and a T-shirt, it gives my brain something to think about. I have to go out and meet new people which I find stimulating and fun."

Keeping the brain active, especially in retirement, is imperative to many older people and could help to stave off memory problems.

According to Terry, those who continue working after retirement can challenge their brain with the different issues they have to deal with during their working days.

"If somebody raises something in a meeting you have to think about questions which are raised, it makes your brain think in a different way," she explains.

She says exercise can also help. "The other thing is you are physically getting out and about travelling around. You have to be getting up and down and going to different places and, depending on what people do, the work is quite physically demanding as well," she says.

Terry says she enjoys meeting new people - something she may not get the opportunity to do so much if she retires.

The final words of wisdom come from Henry Ford, American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company who once said: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."