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“There’s No One Quite Like Grandma.”

7 June 2024

In November 1980, a small primary school choir, St Winifred’s in Stockport, England released a song titled “There’s no one quite like Grandma”. It went to number 1 in the UK Charts, becoming the much coveted Christmas number 1, demoting John Lennon’s “(Just like) Starting over” to number 2. The song sold over a million copies.

Why would a simple song, sung by a primary school choir reach such dizzy heights? Every musician that ever sold a record dreams of a Christmas number 1. Maybe the secret lies in the sentiment of what ‘Grandma’ represents. In the song, Grandma is always a friend, to you and me, she’s there in times of need, she always has a smile, she never hurries us along, just stays a little while.

At St Bart’s, we have our very own ‘Grandma’. Grandma is her preferred name, she says it’s easier to say than her real name, and ‘Grandma’ is how everyone knows her and refers to her. Grandma came to St Bart’s seven months ago.

One Saturday afternoon she took her grandson out for dinner. Both were excited to be in each other’s company as most grandmas and grandsons would be. “Everything was beautiful, perfect, in order”. An hour later, “we came back, and you’ve got no life.” They returned to Grandma’s house to find it engulfed in flames. “It was only an hour ago I had a life.” Just play that line back through your mind,  “It was only an hour ago I had a life.” Life turned catastrophically for this beautiful, kind, loving 70 year old grandma in the space of an hour. An hour she’d spent having fun with her grandson. The next chapter of Grandma’s life is about survival, her worldly possessions pushed around the streets of Perth in a trolley, a city that she describes as overwhelming and frightening. “One more week out there and I wouldn’t have made it.”

Grandma found her way to St Bart’s via the Safe Night Shelter, she was weak and afraid, but she found solace in simple things, such as cooking. Grandma talks about the impact of the compassion and care of the staff at St Bart’s, but we have seen the same positive traits in abundance as Grandma has supported and mentored other women living in the service.

St Winifred’s choir could have been singing about our Grandma, there really is no one quite like her. As she says, “I’m nervously excited to re-begin. I’ve given myself this year to re-find me, a new me, another me, because that me doesn’t exist anymore and then prepare me for the next decade. Into eighties. Yeah!”

If you would like to help St Bart’s, there are many things you can do, including donating here or you can volunteer your time here. Alternatively, you could like and share this with your friends and family.

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