Gran shares so much of my heart, says 10-year-old Emelia

PAULINE O’Regan was a bit of a media darling yesterday after being named as Grandparent of the Year at a ceremony in Dublin.

Pauline, from Wilton in Cork, was nominated by her 10 year-old granddaughter Emelia Deane from Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Emelia singled out how, despite the distance between them herself and her Granny, they have always been extremely close and she “shares so much of my heart”.

“I think my Gran should win because she’s the best Gran in the world. She never really gets cross, and I remember she used to tell me stories to eat my porridge. When my mum had my twin sisters, my mum was a bit sick. My Gran came all the way from Cork to look after us for two months,” wrote Emelia.

“For a person that lives far apart she shares so much in my heart. She’s always there no matter what — Halloween, Christmas, birthdays; the lot, Winner or no winner, she’s a winner to me, She’s the best Gran that I’ll ever see.”

Speaking after the ceremony, Pauline said she was proud of her granddaughter.

“I didn’t know I was being entered but I was extremely proud of my granddaughter for writing so well and so nicely about me. I found out on Tuesday that I had won and I was a mixture of numb, excited and proud. It’s a great achievement for my granddaughter really,” she said.

“My daughter had twins so I went up to stay with them for two months to help out. Only for the free travel, I wouldn’t get up to see them as much,” she said.

Pauline quipped that given her new celebrity status, she might be called on for other engagements in her native Cork.

“I’ve never talked so much in my life, but I’m really enjoying it. They might be asking me to open supermarkets next.”

National Grandparents Day — held on the last Sunday of September each year — encourages all grandchildren to visit their grandparents and say thank-you.

A Sunday Stroll will take place in St Stephens Green, Dublin, on September 25 between noon and 4pm and grandparents and their families are invited to join in the festivities.

Role models

LEGENDARY GAA commentator Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh is the most “popular positive ageing role model” for Irish people, a national opinion poll has found.

Of the 1,000 people questioned by Red C, almost half (47%) chose the veteran broadcaster. He was followed by former politician Mary O’Rourke (28%), British actress Helen Mirren (27%) and Irish soccer team manager Giovanni Trapattoni (18%).

The poll, which involved a number of questions, was carried out as part of Positive Ageing Week, which is organised by Age Action and which starts today and runs until October 1.

Among the other findings were:

* Half believed that growing older was a positive experience for themselves or older people they knew. The strongest positive feeling about ageing was among those aged 55 and over, although more than half the 18-24 years questioned were positive.

* Just one third believed ageing was a negative experience.

* More that three quarters said older people have a role to play in Ireland in 2011 while 11% believed they did not have a role.

* 85% said those roles included minding and babysitting grandchildren, followed by mentoring /coaching young people (85%), volunteering with voluntary organisations (78%), contributing to the economy (74%) and as older workers (63%).

Red C also asked what preparations people had made for living to an elderly age. 28% said they had thought about, or planned for, how they would live when they were 80. About 55% had not given the issue any thought.

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