Search Is To Find Britains Greatest Grandparent

Monday, 06 October 2008

GRANDPARENTS are saving families £3.9 billion* every year by providing two-thirds of all childcare in the UK for free.

Research indicates that 82% of children also receive some care from grandparents** and the childcare provided by grandparents allows more than half of all UK parents to return to work*. It is also suggested that the involvement of a grandparent in a child’s education can make that child a better achiever.

With more than 14 million grandparents all over the country taking such an important role in family life, a competition to celebrate the contribution grandparents make to society was launched on Grandparents Day [Sunday 5 October] by Age Concern in association with Specsavers.

Now in its 18th year, the aim of the awards is to publicly acknowledge the 13 million grandparents across the country and the pivotal role they play in family life.

The Grandparent of the Year Award gives children aged six and over the chance to nominate their grandparents, or a special older person, to say thank you for all the love and support that they receive.

Speaking at this year’s grand final, TV presenter Fiona Philips says: ‘Age Concern’s Grandparent of the Year Award is always very special. Spending time with the national finalists and seeing first hand the love, wisdom and support they share with their grandchildren is an extraordinary example to us all.’

Patsy Drysdale (69) from Stranraer in Scotland, was crowned this year’s Grandparent of the Year following a nomination by her 13-year-old grandchild Gina Drysdale.

Gina nominated her grandmother for giving her a home following the death of her mother. Patsy has supported her granddaughter through some difficult times and in turn Gina has been there when her grandma needed her, nursing her through lung cancer.

Gina said: ‘I have been so lucky to have such a loving Nana who was willing to take me in and look after me and my brother and sister when we needed it. My Nana is not just my grandmother but also my best friend. I put her forward for this award because she not only deserved it, but it is also my way of saying thank you to this amazing lady.’

This year, 13 regional winners will be chosen from throughout the UK and of these, five national finalists will travel to London next March for a reception at the House of Commons, where the winner will be announced by TV presenter Fiona Phillips.

The national winner of the Grandparent of the Year 2009 title will receive £3,000 cash to spend as they wish, plus £750 in eyecare vouchers and £2,000 in hearing vouchers, courtesy of Specsavers. Closing date for the entries is Monday 30 November 2008.

Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern England said: ‘Every entry we receive tells a heart-warming story about fantastic grandparents and this award offers the opportunity for everyone to celebrate how much they treasure their grandparents. We hope that this year’s competition will be just as successful, if not better!’

Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers added: ‘We are delighted to support Age Concern to find the UK’s Grandparent of the Year for the second year running. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to help local families recognise the pivotal role grandparents play in the lives of those around them.’

To enter please log onto, or visit your nearest Age Concern centre or Specsavers store to pick up a nomination form.


* ‘The Economic Contribution of Older People’ – report for Age Concern England by Pamela Meadows and William Cook, Volterra Consulting January 2004

** The Grandparents Association, October 2008

Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of Specsavers and Age Concern,

Notes to Editors

  • Nomination forms will be available from October 5 2008 and the closing date for nominations is 30 November 2008
  • Pictures of the 2008 winners and regional finalists are available upon request
  • 13 regional winners will be selected from the completed nomination forms completed by the grandchild. From these five national finalists will be invited on an all expenses paid visit to London and the final award ceremony
  • The winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000 to spend as they wish plus free eye and hearing care for the next ten years, £750 in eyecare vouchers and £2,000 in hearcare vouchers, courtesy of Specsavers
  • Grandparent of the Year is open to people living in the UK excluding any one who works for Age Concern and their families. Nominations must come from the grandchild but more than one grandparent can be nominated. The competition is only open to grandchildren of six years and over. Terms and conditions apply
  • Age Concern is the largest organisation in the UK working for older people. They work in the community to support older people through a range of initiatives. These include information and advice, befriending, day centres, lunch clubs, transport services, home visits, and advocacy services. More information can be found on their website