Talking Early Years with June O’Sullivan: In Conversation with Laura Henry

October 5th 2020

Remembering the Power of Grandmothers.
I remember many years ago talking to Laura about how she felt when her grandmother sadly passed away.  I think it was at the drink’s reception after the Nursery World Show. Laura and I were relative newbie presenters, so we were looking to reassure each other. I could relate to her feelings because my grandmother, who lived with us, died the week before I left to go to England to train as a nurse.

I was very fond of my Grandmother, known as Nan-Nan. I used to borrow her boots to go out as they had quite a hippy feel.  As an ex dancing teacher of the Strictly Come Dancing glamour, she could never quite get why her 17-year-old granddaughter wanted her clumpy boots to go out “on the razz”! There is a lovely book by Nell Dunn called “Grandmothers” where grandmothers talk about the feelings they had when they became grandmothers.

But for Laura and I, we were much more caught up in the experience of being granddaughters. Laura went on to capture her strong feelings about her grandmother in a book she wrote many years ago called JoJo & Gran Gran.  Those characters have now been taken up by CBeebies and turned into a very popular animation.

I have been suggesting that many people watch it particularly because it’s the first British-made animated TV show centred around the lives of a regular black family going about the normal business of living. Because it’s Laura’s creation, I have immediately sited this grandmother and her granddaughter in South London or as Laura would say, South West meets South East London.

October celebrates Black History Month – a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the outstanding contributions people of colour have made.

Let’s shout out for Laura’s grandmother and all those other black grandmothers who are often the very backbone of their family. Join us with a cuppa to hear Laura’s heart warming story and fun adventures with her Gran Gran.