A Letterkenny grandmother has been named as Ulster Grandparent of the Year 2016. Margaret McConnell (56) was nominated by her grandchild Chloe Campbell (7) and beat off stiff competition from grandparents throughout the province to take the title.
Margaret is one of four regional finalists who will compete to win the prestigious title of Specsavers Ireland’s Grandparent of the Year.
There were great celebrations yesterday at Specsavers Letterkenny, where the team presented Margaret with her prize which comprised a framed certificate, bottle of champagne and a Specsavers voucher.
Speaking at the prize-giving Margaret said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to be named Specsavers Ulster Grandparent of the Year and to be one step closer to winning the national title. It is a real honour and even more special because I was nominated by my granddaughter.’
The Grandparent of the Year award was launched by Specsavers in association with Third Age to recognise the benefits of an ageing population and celebrate the special role that grandparents play in the lives of Irish families and the community. Grandchildren of all ages were asked to nominate their grandparents with a written entry on why they deserved the title.
Margaret has a very close relationship with her granddaughter Chloe, who she sees almost every day.
In her winning entry, Chloe said she always has fun when she is with her grandmother, knitting and baking together at Margaret’s house. Chloe loves her granny’s sense of humour and says they often play jokes on her granddad together.
Margaret is an incredibly hard worker and helps look after the rest of Chloe’s family, including her husband Ronnie and Chloe’s mum Sonia when they were both sick. Chloe described how special Margaret is to her, hoping to be just like her when she grows up.
Specsavers Letterkenny store director Paul O’Donoghue commented, ‘Congratulations to Margaret on this much deserved achievement and her granddaughter Chloe for her fantastic entry which we were touched by. At Specsavers, we recognise that older people, and particularly those with hearing loss, are vulnerable to social isolation and these awards are an opportunity for younger generations to celebrate the many ways that grandparents and older people enrich our lives and communities. We wish Margaret the very best of luck in the final.’
The overall winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, including campaign ambassador Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, at the end of November and will win a weekend away in Ireland, a Specsavers voucher and the Grandparent of the Year trophy. Plus, the grandchild who nominated the winning grandparent will receive an iPad Air.