When you are retired income is generally more important than capital value and dividends are holding up. I am not selling because I get a much better income from my shares/unit trusts than I would get from putting the money in a building society or bank savings account.
We bought some shares last year (having been stung once and vowed never to do it again!), intending that they should be for our GS at 18. They have practically dropped off the radar at the moment but we don't feel we have any choice but to hang on to them and hope things get better. Whether we will get a good enough return eventually for the money to be any use to him I don't know. I think you - and we - just have to keep our nerve....
There are various fixed rate bonds available on the market, you have to shop around or go onto moneysupermarket to view the best deals. It was a bit of a gamble regarding interest rates, but as the rates are now deemed to be low for the next 2 years or so, you needn't worry about locking in your available money for a couple of years. There are always premium bonds. The interest rates are so awful that half a percent between providers is still rubbish. If you want a real gamble, this is probably a good, well perhaps not good time to buy stocks and shares!!! as long as you choose the right share.
Aye, and there's the rub, as the bard said (I think)... God forbid they should ever be any lower so it probably is a good time to buy, but once bitten as they say.... should have gone for gold but hindsight is a wonderful thing!