The TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford has published a new book called Glorious Grandparenting. I was delighted to be asked to contribute a detailed section about legal rights for grandparents. It is a subject that is close to my heart: I have written previously about how grandparents, even when they enjoy close relationships with their grandchildren, can be overlooked when relationships break down.
The book’s full title is Glorious Grandparenting: Having the Time of Your Life with Your Grandchildren. Gloria, a grandparent of nine, decided to write it as a “celebration of what it is to be a grandparent today”.
However the book also features grandparents who have become separated from their grandchildren and examines the controversial lack of rights for grandparents. Gloria Hunniford’s publishers contacted me earlier this year, after I advised Coronation Street producers on a complicated storyline that brought grandparents’ legal rights (or lack of) to the fore.
Six years ago Gloria Hunniford’s only daughter, TV presenter Caron Keating, died aged 41 from breast cancer, leaving behind two sons. Gloria continues to enjoy a strong relationship with her son-in-law and grandsons, but her attendance at a Downing Street reception for The Grandparents’ Association afforded her a “tiny glimpse” into how life might be for grandparents who lose touch with their grandchildren.
In her book, I outline the legal rights of grandparents, offer advice and highlight some of the changes within the law that I would like to see made following the introduction of the Childhood and Families Ministerial Task Force in June 2010. (I have also detailed these proposed changes in an earlier post, We must help the grandparents hit by divorce).
After making promising noises earlier in the year, our government has gone quiet on this subject of late. I am pleased that Gloria Hunniford, who has been appointed an ambassador of The Grandparents’ Association, is drawing upon her profile and working hard to keep grandparents’ rights on the agenda.
Glorious Grandparenting (Vermilion, £16.99) is currently available from bookshops and Amazon. A paperback edition is planned for Spring 2011.