They're simply the best
IT'S a case of double delight for one Nottingham family after the results of our heartwarming Grandparent of the Year competition were announced yesterday.
We asked schoolchildren throughout the city to write letters nominating their grans and grandads – with entrants divided into two age groups, between 5-7 years and 8-11 years.
And in an amazing twist, the two winning letters have ended up coming from the same family!
Chloe Salisbury, six, and sister Emily, eight, who both go to Abbey Road Primary School in West Bridgford, each received the most votes in their age group and so claim all the fabulous prizes.
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Chloe won in the younger category after nominating her grandad Martin Gregg, 61, while Emily was victorious in the older category, thanks to her letter about grandma Eileen Salisbury, 69.
The girls' mum, Kirsty Salisbury, was absolutely over the moon at the news.
"It was such a shock," she laughed. "It's worked out perfectly."
Our first winner, Martin, is the girls' grandfather on their mother's side. The builder, who lives in Bilsthorpe, admits he was a bit shellshocked at hearing about his amazing win.
He added: "I'm really proud of what the girls have achieved; it's not about me – it's about them writing such lovely letters.
"I don't know why they think I deserved it. I'm mostly close to little Chloe, we got to be really good friends when I was building the extension at her house. She'd help me and I'd give her the drill to hold."
So what did Martin think makes a grandparent great these days?
"Being a good grandparent is just about everyday living isn't it?" he said. "It's the little things, the jokes and the laughs we have together. I find being Grandad very enjoyable."
The girls and little sister Olivia, 3, regularly go to sleepovers with Martin and his wife Susan and have also had family holidays together in Spain and other places.
"We're very close," Martin said.
So is he looking forward to one of his main prizes, a pampering day at Eden Hall spa?
"Ooh, I don't think you'll catch me there," Martin laughs. "The wife'll love it though."
Meanwhile, our second winner, Eileen, (the girls' grandmother on their father's side) lives just around the corner in West Bridgford. Known to family and friends as Jackie, she is currently on a two-week holiday in America, but has heard the good news and said she was flabbergasted about the double win.
"What clever little babes! I'm so pleased and so proud of the girls for writing in and for winning; it's a fabulous achievement," she said.
"I'm really looking forward to the prize of a family meal out and a new photo of all my grandchildren together. I will be giving them all big hugs when I get back."
Mum Kirsty said it was Emily who first came home from school and was keen to take part and write the letter nominating her grandma.
"She loves writing," Kirsty said. "I'm sure she could write for England. Then Chloe was looking over her shoulder and she said she wanted to enter too. So it worked out well that Emily nominated Eileen and Chloe nominated Martin."
Chloe's teacher Jo Seagrave is also delighted for Abbey Road Primary School.
She said: "It was my idea for all the children from school to write letters and it's brilliant to have won. It's definitely something the children have loved doing and it's nice that grandparents have got some recognition at last."