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Grandmother and her Grandchild

Posted 13 October 2017

The Grandchild Guidance Service: sharing knowledge between generations

The relationship between Grandparents and their Grandchildren is special. Tony Watts talks to three grandparents about this bond.

  • The grandson who learned all about business from his grandfather;
  • The grandson who came to stay for a few weeks – and never left;
  • And the grandmother who’s still waiting for her lawn to be mowed.

Fixing Grandad's watch

Three of Daphne Hartley’s five grandchildren are into their 20s, and either at university or working, so keeping in touch is often via Facebook – a skill they helped her acquire. But the two younger ones, Caitlin and Sam, still drop in on a regular basis after school.

‘They’ve all spent a lot of time with me over the years,’ Daphne says, ‘and I like to think I’ve passed on a love of cooking – especially to Toby. They’ve all made cakes by my side. The only drawback was that they learned to measure out in ounces – that caused Caitlin a problem when she had to convert to metric for cookery at school!

‘They’ve also learned to cook a quiche, how to beat me at Gin Rummy and they can knit and sew – which might or might not come in useful in the future! They also know all the trees from collecting leaves on our walks and sticking them in books.

‘We always had to wait for them to come home from university to fix granddad’s watch or sort out my phone or tablet. I’m still waiting for one of them to mow the lawn for me… but I expect that time will come!’

My live-in Grandson made his own bed

The ties between 63-year-old Michele Catchpole and grandson Sonny go deep. ‘I was there at the delivery,’ says Michele, ‘and he and his mum came to live with me for the first few months of his life. They then moved next door to me – so I’ve always played a big part in his life.’

Then, when Sonny was 15 and studying for his GCSEs, the ties became even closer: ‘He was struggling as he was sharing a bedroom with his 11-year-old-brother. We had a spare room and said: ‘Why not move in here for a few weeks?’

‘That was six years ago… and he’s never moved out!’

The arrangement has worked wonderfully well for both Sonny and his grandparents: ‘It was lovely to have a youngster about the house,’ says Michele, ‘and he was always happy to be cooked for and looked after! He did well at school and then college, and now he’s working as a carpenter for one of my sons.

‘As you can imagine, he’s very handy – so he’s forever doing odd jobs about the house and mending things. He even made a double bed for his room! And he’s always happy to give me lifts.

‘But most of all, he’s there to give me a goodbye kiss when he goes off to work in the morning and say, ‘Love you, Nan.’

‘We've always been a very close knit family, but this has brought us even closer.’

WhatsApp, Grandad?

At 77, Harold Brassey recognises that – as far as technology is concerned – it’s difficult at times to keep up: ‘I had problems when VHS recorders came out,’ he confesses, ‘so while I can see all the benefits of PCs, tablets and smartphones, working out how to make best use of them has not been easy.’

Fortunately, help is at hand in the shape of Harold’s 18-year-old grandson Tom, who has a regular role as his ‘IT consultant’.

‘When he got his iPhone, he could only use it to make calls,’ says Tom, ‘so I loaded the apps, showed him how to use the camera, sat nav and emails, and got him onto WhatsApp so he can message us.’

Tom has gained from his grandfather over the years too, being able to tap into his grandfather’s business experience of developing and managing properties: ‘I’m pursuing a career in economics, so it’s been really helpful to talk to him and see how his business model works,’ says Tom.

After scooping straight A stars in his chosen subjects, Tom had an offer to study economics at a top university but deferred it to take a job at the Bank of England, with whom he now has an opportunity to take a funded university course in a few years’ time.

‘I’m incredibly proud of Tom,’ says Harold, ‘although I wouldn't always tell him that. He’s been so helpful whenever I’ve needed a hand with technical things, and we do talk a lot. I like to think that passing on my experiences has given him a steer towards his future career. He’s certainly very astute when it comes to financial matters.

‘I’ve suggested that he brings home a few free samples from the Bank – but that’s not happened yet!’

If you don’t have a tech-savvy teenager on hand to help you with the business of life – financial planning included – The LV= Pension Specialists hub is filled with easy-to-follow information and tools. From pension planning to retirement calculators, it’s there to take the stress away – so you can focus on spending time with the people you love.

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