The special bond that forms between a grandparent and grandchild is one of the many joys that later life brings.
That bond is even closer for the five million grandparents over the age of 50 who take on the role of parent when times get tough.
Eleven-year-old Adam and nine-year-old Amymae moved in with their grandparents, Roy and Kate, four years ago when their mother’s mental health declined to the point that she was unable to care for them.
Our Marketing Executive, spent a day with the family to capture their story on camera. Here’s how she got on.
It’s a three hour journey from London to Lincolnshire where Roy, Kate, Adam and Amymae live, so I’ve downloaded a couple of podcasts to pass the time. Today, we’ll be filming a short video about the support the family has received from the MCF and about the difference it has made to their lives.
I arrive at the family home and Amymae is waiting for me with a big smile on her face. When I get to the end of the path she runs out to say hello, wearing her best blue dress with sparkly shoes.
“I wish I wore my sparkly shoes!” I say, and Amymae giggles. Adam runs out to join his sister;
“Are we going to be on TV?!” he asks excitedly. I tell him that the video will most likely be seen by thousands of people.
“That’s so cool!” he says, before running upstairs to put on a smarter t-shirt.
While the cameraman is setting up, Kate and I sit on the sofa with a cup of tea. Without prompt, Kate starts to tell me how Freemasonry has “saved their lives”.
“If it wasn’t for the support from Roy’s lodge and the MCF, I don’t know how we would have coped. Adam and Amymae’s mum is really ill so of course we were happy to take them in – we wouldn’t have had it any other way. The only thing was that we’re both retired with a tiny pension that barely covers the two of us, let alone two extra mouths to feed, so it wasn’t long after the children moved in that we started to struggle with money.”
Roy joins us on the sofa. “It wasn’t just food! Our electricity bills skyrocketed and I didn’t anticipate how much petrol it would take to run the children to and from school. Having been an almoner for many years, I knew all about the MCF and got in touch to see if they could help. Thankfully, they agreed to help us with grants for daily living expenses which has lifted a huge weight off our shoulders. We can now go about our daily life as a family without stressing about how we’re going to afford to put food on the table.”
After a fun two hours of filming, with some comical bloopers from the children along the way, it’s time to say goodbye and get on a train to London. “I can’t say thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us,” says Kate as I make my way out of the door. It’s moments like these that remind me just how big a difference the MCF can make to people’s lives.
As I close the door, I can hear Adam shouting: “I’m going to be famous!”
Watch the family’s story now and hear how we supported them through a difficult time in their lives: