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How my grandparents inspired me

A young brunette woman smiles with her grandparents, who are wearing Christmas paper hats

A motivation for conversation

Hannah tells us how chats with her grandparents influenced her to support Age UK.



Throughout the years, Hannah always loved conversations with her Granny and Grandad – whether in person, over the phone, or through handwritten letters.

A brunette woman in running gear smiling at the camera
Hannah has run to support Age UK
A brunette woman in running gear smiling at the camera
Hannah has run to support Age UK

Since losing her grandparents, Hannah has been eager to make sure no older person is left without someone to talk to. She has generously supported Age UK’s work to help make this a reality, by running the Leeds Abbey Dash multiple times and volunteering to be part of the Age UK Telephone Friendship Service.

Keeping in contact

“Granny and Grandad were always there,” says Hannah. “They met as teenagers, got married when Granny was 19, and stayed together forever. They lived in the same house their entire lives. Even now, whenever I see their old house, I think of all the happy times I had with them there.”

Although university and jobs led to her moving further away in adulthood, Hannah wasn’t going to let distance stand in the way of staying in touch with her grandparents. “All of my family is based in the north, so when I moved to Bristol for a while, I was much further away than anyone else,” Hannah explains. “My life at that time was going at 100mph, and I found that when I chatted to Granny and Grandad on the phone it could be quite overwhelming for them to keep up with what I was telling them. So, I decided to start writing to them instead. I really felt like I was talking to them as I was writing, and it meant that they could go back to letters if they wanted to – or read a bit at a time.”

It was this regular communication with her grandparents that would later inspire Hannah to join the Age UK Telephone Friendship Service. “I thought it’d be nice to continue,” Hannah says. “I can also remember seeing statistics from Age UK during the pandemic lockdowns about how many older people were feeling lonely during that time. It made me think of my Granny and Grandad. Grandad died first and Granny was living by herself for about seven years. When I thought about someone like my Granny having no one to talk to, I decided to sign up as a volunteer.

“I also thought it would be nice to connect with someone older – someone who might be of the same generation as my grandparents, and who might remind me of them.”

“Without them, I wouldn’t be a quarter of the person I am today.”

Jamie, who has run the London Marathon for Age UK, pays tribute to the lasting influence of his late grandparents, Ron and Pat.

Read Jamie's story

Catch-ups and coincidences

After joining the telephone friendship service in 2021, Hannah was soon matched with Claude. “It’s a weird thing talking to someone on the phone who you’ve never met,” Hannah says of their initial conversations. “But asking questions is a great way to start. Claude seems so down-to-earth, and has been happy to share things about his life. Now he feels like someone I know well.”

An old photo of an older woman with glasses and an older man, dressed up and smiling
Margaret and Trevor, Hannah's Granny and Grandad
An old photo of an older woman with glasses and an older man, dressed up and smiling
Margaret and Trevor, Hannah's Granny and Grandad

Calls with Claude have helped Hannah to learn more about his experiences, and to uncover some interesting coincidences along the way. “Hearing about Claude’s life is fantastic – he’s always got a story!” Hannah laughs. “He was born in Mauritius but came to the UK when there was a call-out for people to work in the NHS. Claude became a nurse – and weirdly, my Granny was a nurse too. We’ll often get talking about history and the NHS. Claude’s very much a people person, and very caring.”

“It can be hard to make friends as an adult. But this service puts people together who want to talk to somebody else,” Hannah says. “To anyone who’s thinking of signing up – whether you’ve lost a grandparent yourself, or whatever situation you’re in – I’d say do it.

“It’s always lovely to get the perspective of someone with more life experience, and the chats are a nice routine to have. I’ve found that it’s not a case of doing someone a favour – I hope my chats with Claude help him, because they definitely help me.”

Relationships and family in later life

Featuring tips for grandparents, advice for coping with bereavement, and much more.

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Last updated: Oct 09 2023

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