Grandparents and parents are unforgettable

As I listen to Nat King Cole and his immortal words in the song ‘unforgettable’ I am reminded of why I started Grandparent Support, although the song was originally written as a love song for probably between two adults, I remember thinking on one of those unhappy Christmases in the not too distant past, when I was denied contact with my beautiful granddaughter, that I would not give up nor forget her, and in my heart I knew because of our bond that she would not forget me either.

When Natalie Cole released the virtual duet with her father in 1991 (who had died in 1965) it became my #1 Favourite and a testament to the power of love and music.

The song kept a light within in me, a small flickering light that was to burn like a flame and become my strength, it made me think of other songs too, songs that my granddaughter and I had enjoyed listening to together, one of her favourites that I had introduced her to is A windmill in old Amsterdam.

She still asks for this whenever I pick her up in the car, and we never fail to chuckle away with the mice at the end.

We have come to love other tunes together, you see that flame turned into a roaring fire that blazed through several courts and many negotiations and reconciliations, we have a working contact order that has been successfully in place now for over 18 months and with an open heart and an ever listening ear forcommunication and understanding it is set to continue.

My wish for all who are separated from their loved ones through family conflict this season is to have an open heart and an open mind and try again with the lines of communication, in whatever form that helps you as a family.

If you would like a dedication played on our radio show do please get in contact.


Over 50? Come along to Manchester Cathedral today between 2:30pm -4:00pm

Regimental Chapel Manchester Cathedral


Click on the Societies Fair Flyer for more details

Societies Fair Flyer

Pop along and have a natter with us, there will many more groups, clubs, associations and organisations for you to get to know about, all within the glorious Manchester Cathedral.

Join us to celebrate Grandparents day this Sunday 5th October

Fancy a spot of tea and cake?

Then join us this Sunday at Whitemoss youth and community centre M9 7DQ between 12-3pm and find out about our autumn programme of activities.

Grandparents Day Event 5th October 2014

The Lynda Bellingham Interview …….

….and how we were almost defeated by technology!

Volunteering for my local radio station has brought me into contact with some fantastic people both volunteers and guests alike.

It’s great fun and is run by the fantastic station Manager Lou Armer a ukulele playing hard working, no-nonsense, sweetheart of a woman with a heart and soul for the community of North Manchester where I live and the station is based!

When I first approached Lou about doing a show I pitched my show about older people in the community, news, views, recipes and reviews with of course some time to highlight the problems grandparents face in the 21st century! Did I mention the show tunes?

I covered Grandparent Alienation a few weeks ago and hopefully I can bring you that and some of my other programs soon, as I learn to master this new technology, and put it on a cloud???

Mastering the new technology is all part of my learning as I don’t wish to get older and be left wondering how to use a computer or even to stay in touch with my family, there are so many innovative things happening in this field, that many older people can feel isolated even when their families are close! Picture a family sitting around these days at home all on their own gadgets, and you will understand.

Anyway back to how technology almost defeated me this week!

On Tuesday of last week Lou got word that Lynda Bellingham was going to be available through a news media organisation for interview ahead of #dementiaawarenessweek, which began on Sunday 18th May 2014.

This was a fixed timeslot as these thing usually are, and the available time was to be Wednesday morning when I am normally in work, ( I work part-time) so I had to negotiate time off before I could put myself forward as a candidate for the interview which would be perfect for Nana’s Natter!

I work for a brilliant charity Get-Experienced part of the 4CT organisation which used to be a volunteer brokerage, but now runs smaller projects one of which is The Link East Befriending and activity scheme for older people.

My Manager Kate kindly allowed me to use some time owing to do the interview! So off I went and had my first big interview with a remarkable lady Lynda Bellingham OBE and Maizie Mears-Owen, head of Dementia at Care UK, click on the link below to find out more.

The interview went well even though I was quite nervous and I even managed to ask Lynda some questions that were not scripted a triumph for a local community radio station, I was feeling rather proud until I came to edit and found that I hadn’t recorded it!!! There was a glitch on the system.

Baffled and annoyed, I felt I had let everyone down! Not least of all my guests who had taken the time and trouble to go to such lengths to raise the profile of this little discussed disease!

Me being me of course I didn’t let it rest, I tweeted a plea for help to Lynda via Twitter and also sent her an email and of course because she is a compassionate and caring lady who truly understands the nature of this disease how it affects the person and the effects it has on the family as a whole, she contacted me and agreed to do a live interview today!

What an absolute star! Someone who uses her celebrity in a positive and caring way to help others

Tune in today between 4-5pm on North Manchester. FM 106.6 and have a listen.

Click on the links below for more information

Post show  19:09 pm update

Today’s show with Lynda Bellingham OBE talking about Dementia, please forgive the silence at 36:15 -37:17 I forgot to press a button!

and the link for the book The Things Between us :

I Have A Voice!

I HAVE A VOICE! It may not be the beautiful shrill of the mocking bird! But I have a voice!

My voice may not have the eloquent words of Emily Dickenson, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller or even Esther Rantzen, nor the wit of Charles dickens and the glorious Paul O’Grady, not to mention the dulcet tones of Terry Wogan or the ever sexy Barry White, but I have a voice!

After eleven years of anguish I am now reassured that my granddaughter will have one too!

Yesterday will go down as a triumph, but today will go down as a victory! A victory for Justice, yes, but not without collateral damage too.

Yesterday SM…C. sent me a txt with GD…K’s mobile phone number, wow, my granddaughter now has her own phone! Her own direct line to Nana G and her family!

Being ever mindful and respectful of K’s SM…C and BF…B I consulted them as to what rules they had imposed, dutifully notified and agreed, we proceeded with our direct electronic contact, and I knew that this time it was going to be different, more than any other contact, somehow strangely it would be more natural, and it was.

We texted and sent recorded messages over an hour and a half period of time, it was natural and wonderful and it made me so happy!

Maybe it was the unscheduled surprise of it all, but no, today I was reminded what a truly unique step forward it was when my daughter : my granddaughter’s aunt, having been forwarded the number (with permissions) and having spent an equally exciting time electronically, commented after I said – it was amazing,

“I know, well done Mum it’s all down to you xxx”

That comment then, was the victory.

Not for my part in the proceedings, but that now my granddaughter would, after that vital independent connection, forever know her family!

I of course replied to my daughter “Shush! Or I’ll cry!”

Grandparents have a huge responsibility as the elders in the family, to keep things moving forward and the lines of communication open!


Abbreviations – SM…C = Step-Mother, BF…B = Biological Father, GD…K = Granddaughter,

Nana G = Me.

News of the Tea & Cake Event


tea & cake



Are you a Grandparent that has been denied Contact?

Are you a Grandparent carer?


Come along and have a chat, a cuppa and cake.


SOUTHDOWN CRESCENT MANCHESTER M9 7DG (off Charlestown road Blackley)

Thursday 20th February 2014

Between 10:00am-12:00 noon.

We want to hear from you



Tune in to the radio show Nana’s Natter on North Manchester FM 106.6 Every Monday teatime between 4-5 pm


Volunteering Is Fun!

Good Morning everyone!

English: Central Business Park, Monsall, Manch...
English: Central Business Park, Monsall, Manchester. A new business park is being created on the site of the former Monsall Isolation Hospital. Taken from SD 868 007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane and I from Get-Experienced-  had great fun and chatter with a lot of semi-surpressed giggles yesterday recording our slot for “Get Connected”, the radio show- hosted by Sonia de la Fuente-Business Connector from – Fujitsu’s-Business in the Community.

The four of us gathered together in the fantastic studio based at Central Park Manchester- (who knew that there was) such a breathtakingly contemporary metropolis built on the land that was once Monsall Hospital? I’m reliably informed it even has it’s own Tram stop!

(The photo does not do it justice)

My City never ceases to amaze me, I’ve always loved it’s ability to grow and expand, not just with it’s magnificent architecture and it’s adaptations to industry, but together with it’s blending of cultural diversity and sheer showmanship, it makes for one rocking city!

That’s one way to describe it, but being a mancunian born and bred, I’ve always thought of it as ‘a series of little villages’ that happen to be called Manchester, I’ve lived in different parts of it and abroad throughout my life, but I always return to the north and the ‘three villages’, I have spent most of my life in Crumpsall, Blackley and Charlestown.

It is the people of these villages that make our city strong.

Yesterday I found myself in the company of two heroes from the village next to me where I often shop, Cheetham Hill.

Have a listen and let me know your views on volunteering, it goes out live today between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and although you can’t download, you can listen on their listen again link.

and if your thinking about volunteering don’t just think about it -DO IT!