A lonely young woman advertised for a new grandmother in a newspaper article, saying she felt like something was missing from her life after losing her own nana when she was a teenager.
Laura Topham, from London, UK, tried to fill the void by volunteering at a local hospital and even signed up to a number of charities who ran ‘adopt a gran’ schemes, but was unsuccessful.
Then, in 2007, at the age of 26, she wrote a column detailing how she “missed the unique relationship” after moving to a new city and being away from her own family.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning breakfast show in the UK, Topham said: “I really missed that relationship because it’s such a unique relationship. Everybody around me was the same age, everyone had the same priorities, same outlook.
“I just thought being around somebody of a different generation just gives you such a richer life and it’s such a unique thing. It’s like family but also friendship your grandparent, it’s fun but also sort of loyalty and trust.”
Topham said she never expected to receive a response to her article, however recently widowed Maureen Jympson, now 85, spotted the article and wrote in asking “please can I be your gran”.
Her letter, reports The Daily Mail, read: “I can’t bake cakes, my red cheeks come from a pot and I’ve dyed my grey hair blonde. So I’m not a conventional gran, but I’d love to take you for tea.”
She said: “It just occurred to me like a little light switch and I thought ‘I’m going to be her gran’. So I wrote in not thinking for one second that she would answer.
“After I’d written it I got cold feet and I thought ‘no she’s writing a column, she’s not going to answer it’. Then one day I was feeling very low so I went out and posted it. I even threw her article away. I just thought this was an interesting and lovely thing, if it could work.
“I love her to bits. I don’t think I could love her any more if she was my own.”
Maureen even took pride of place at Laura’s wedding two years ago and the journalist admitted that her family had welcomed her new grandmother with open arms.
Topham added: “I wish there was a gran-finding agency. There must be so many older people who’d love grandchildren and also people in their 20s and 30s who’d really benefit from having a relationship with someone who’s older.”