Sunday 21 July 2019

Kathleen is the greatest gran

Kathleen with her award
Kathleen with her award
Mary Black; Kathleen McGuinness; Anthony Bissett and Matthew Richards, Specsavers Swords Store Director

Ken Phelan

We all know the special role grandmothers play in our children's lives, and how they love to fuss and dote on their grandchildren, but for one Fingal granny it was to her much delight and surprise when she was awarded the accolade of 'Grandparent of the Year', a title she'll proudly hold.

Kathleen McGuinness, a Swords native now living in Rush was nominated for the Specsavers 'Grandparent of the Year' competition by her 11-year-old grandson Anthony, who is autistic. Anthony knew in his heart that Kathleen was without doubt the best granny in Ireland, and was confident she'd win the distinguished title.

Speaking after receiving her award at Specsavers in Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords, Kathleen (82) told of her shock at receiving the award, what it means to be a great granny, and how she got to meet and impress one Mary Black.

She says: 'Anthony, my 11-year-old grandson nominated me. I didn't know about it beforehand, and it came as a great surprise. I couldn't believe it, and I didn't know if I deserved it or not. I got a beautiful big trophy, a picture frame and a voucher to spend in Specsavers. I also won a weekend away in my choice of hotel for a family of four, a CD specially signed by Mary Black and champagne. I got a lovely photograph with Mary, who was delighted to meet me, and my grandson was in all the shoots too. Mary was standing beside me in all the photographs, so we got to have a nice chat. I'd be a fan of hers, and I love listening to her records, so it was great to meet her.'

Kathleen has lived in Rush since her wedding in 1963 but is a native of Swords. As 'Grandparent of the year', she'll no doubt be the envy of all the equally great grannies in the town, but, despite her accolade, she remains quietly modest:

'I was very excited about winning; it's nice to think my grandson thought so much of me, and I didn't even know I was entered into the competition. I don't really know why I was nominated, but it must have been something he said on the form.'

'My family were all delighted, and were very proud of me, and they all said I was a great granny, so that really meant a lot. The children were all delighted too. It's a great achievement, and my friends were all congratulating me too.'

Kathleen says she has three children, six grandchildren and one great grand-child. Not only is she the best granny, she is obviously a busy one too.

An avid reader of The Fingal Independent, Kathleen says she has been reading the newspaper 'for years', and she loves catching up on what's going on around Rush.

And what does Kathleen feel makes a great granny? She replies, with much modesty: 'It's like this, I wouldn't consider myself a great granny.

'We all do what we can for our grandchildren, so to me, every granny is wonderful.'

Fingal Independent