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The existence of blue stragglers in old open clusters with apparent mass more than twice the mass of the turnoff argues against simple binary mass transfer as the mechanism of their origin. The excess of blue stragglers to the red of the termination of the core hydrogen burning main sequence suggests that blue stragglers are not evolving normally. Stellar evolution models invoking mixing in an extended core region can account for the distribution of blue stragglers in the H-R diagram. Such models live longer, brightening and evolving further to the red before core hydrogen exhaustion than do normal stars. The distribution of blue stragglers in NGC 7789 is consistent with a range of mixed core mass fraction ~30–90 per cent and a narrow range in mass ~1.7–2.1 M⊙. Such evolution will result in a class of helium rich stars which have lived longer than normal and whose total mass exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit.