Estranged grandparents bring quilt of love to town

By Julie McNicholls Vale   |   Deputy news editor   |
Wednesday 29th December 2021 1:00 pm
@JulieCambrian
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Ann Pritchard tells Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP, Liz Saville Roberts, about the quilt made by grandparents estranged from their grandchildren

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A quilt made by grandparents estranged from their children and grandchildren is on display in Criccieth.

Ann Pritchard, who lives there, is one of many distraught grandparents who have contributed to the quilt.

Called ‘The Quilt of Love and Hope’, it went on display in St Catherine’s Church in Criccieth on 16 December where is remained until today, 29 December, before moving to Criccieth Memorial Hall.

Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Roberts went to St Catherine’s Church last Wednesday, 22 December, to see the quilt and meet Ann.

Ann is part of a group of grandparents who meet once a month on Zoom.

“There are approximately 40 of us, sometimes more, and the thing we have in common is that we are estranged from our adult children and consequently from our grandchildren,” she explained.

“Some of us have not had any contact with our much-loved grandchildren for years, and some of us have never seen them at all. It is such a sad and difficult situation to be in.

“When we meet we try to support each other and listen to various speakers who attempt to throw light on the awful plight that we find ourselves in.”

She added: “Some of our members decided to make a quilt, which is travelling around the UK in order to bring attention to this problem.

“Each square in the quilt depicts the grief and heartache experienced by grandparents who feel bereft and lonely at not seeing or hearing their own family.”

The quilt measures 8 feet x 8 feet, and has already been on display in Salisbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and Worcester Library.

Mrs Saville Roberts heard that the group’s aim in moving the quilt around the UK is for the same legislation other countries have to ensure a child’s right to family relationships is introduced here.

Ann added: “The quilt is a beautiful and meaningful way of trying to get our message across to the general public and highlight the fact that there is very little help in place for distraught grandparents whose lives have been ruined. Most of them describe being in this position as a living bereavement.

“Liz Saville Roberts has promised to look into this problem and to bring it up with other MPs. She was very interested in all that we grandparents were trying to do.

“She has promised to keep in touch with me.”

The MP heard that the group’s aim is to get the same legislation other countries have to ensure a child’s right to family relationships.

Mrs Saville Roberts said: “It was immensely moving to meet Ann and talk about the distress experienced by grandparents who have lost contact with their grandchildren. The sense of loss was obvious in the imagery of the quilt panels: broken hearts and pictures of activities which the unknown grandchildren might enjoy. At Christmas, and especially during the pandemic, many families treasure the occasion to come together. It is therefore striking that grandparents have scant rights when it comes to being able to play a part in their grandchildren’s lives.”

The quilt will be in Criccieth Memorial Hall until the middle of January.

The group would like people to write to their MP regarding this issue.

They also want people in the same situation to know that they are not alone.

If you are similarly estranged, there are groups you can contact for advice.

Visit the website, bristolgrandparentssupportgroup.co.uk, email [email protected], or the person who put the quilt together, [email protected].

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