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  • Northside East

Kathleen celebrates top award

Monday, 4th February, 2019 6:00pm
Kathleen celebrates top award

AWARD: Mary Black, Kathleen McGuinness, Anthony Bissett and Matthew Richards, Specsavers Swords Store Director, at the award presentation. PHOTO: JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Kathleen celebrates top award

AWARD: Mary Black, Kathleen McGuinness, Anthony Bissett and Matthew Richards, Specsavers Swords Store Director, at the award presentation. PHOTO: JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY

A NORTHSIDE woman was celebrating last week after winning an award for her outstanding support, care and devotion to her autistic grandchild.

Swords native Kathleen McGuinness was crowned Specsavers Grandparent of the Year 2018. 

As well as being a doting grandmother to her 11-year-old grandson Anthony Bissett, Kathleen is also a great-grandmother and provides unwavering support to the whole family. 

The 82-year-old understands her autistic grandson like nobody else does and both consider each other best friends. She plays a vital role in his development, helps to keep him calm and provides guidance on a daily basis.

Kathleen was delighted to be joined at the award presentation by Anthony and was overwhelmed by his winning entry, detailing their especially close relationship and her unwavering commitment to caring for him.

Kathleen said she was thrilled to be named Grandparent of the Year.

“It’s such an honour and so touching to know that my grandchild is proud of my story and that he cherishes our relationship,” she said. “I am so proud of Anthony for his winning entry, I love him so much.”

Anthony’s winning entry detailed the special bond he shares with his grandmother. For example, she gently covers his ears with her scarf when they are out shopping, as she knows that loud noise can upset Anthony. She always listens and is entertained by his lively stories. 

Also, she is Anthony’s minder three days a week, where she cooks and spoils him with his favourite food. She continues to make a weekly effort to gather the family and host a Sunday meal for everyone.

Anthony’s mum, Ciara Bisset, said: “The way they interact with one another is just amazing – she is the apple of his eye. They both care and look after each other. 

“It was Anthony who encouraged Kathleen to get her hearing tested. He thought she was suffering from hearing loss, as he had to shout more for her to hear him.

“Anthony and I with my husband and daughter go to Kathleen’s for dinner every Sunday. It’s Anthony’s favourite time of the week.”

Campaign ambassador, Irish Celtic folk singer and grandmother of two, Mary Black, presented Kathleen and Anthony with the award and prizes. She was chosen from hundreds of entries following a nationwide search and was shortlisted by a panel of judges from Specsavers.

Chairperson of Specsavers Ireland, Kerril Hickey, said: “Congratulations to Kathleen on this much-deserved achievement and to her grandson Anthony for such a fantastic entry which we were truly moved by. We are really looking forward to helping Kathleen with her hearing.”

Peter Walshe, consultant ENT surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, said grandparents play such a pivotal role in the lives of young people. 

“We were delighted to partner with Specsavers on this family and community-focused campaign,” said Mr Walshe. 

The Grandparent of the Year campaign was launched in October by Specsavers in association with Beaumont Hospital.

 to recognise the benefits of an ageing population and highlight the important role grandparents play in families and local communities. 

Grandchildren of all ages were asked to nominate their grandparents with a written entry on why they deserved the title.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here