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15 million people in UK only see grandparents twice a year

  • Grandchildren in the north see grandparents the most
  • Lorraine Kelly urges Brits to not lose touch with older generation
  • Children who regularly see their grandparents do better at school

Lorraine Kelly has launched a campaign urging Britain's youngsters to spend more time with their grandparents as research shows that 15 million people see their grandparents less than once a year and so risk losing their identity and heritage.

The survey, by Genes Reunited, has found that the Welsh are the ‘best' grandchildren, with more than three quarters (76 per cent) of them seeing their grandparents at least once a month while almost half of grandchildren in the north (47 per cent) see their elder relatives once a week, compared to a third (36 per cent) of their southern counterparts. However, two thirds of people regret not taking the chance to see their elderly relatives more often.

It is not just grandparents that suffer from not having regular contact with their grandchildren, as reported this week, but the grandchildren themselves can also be at a disadvantage as research has previously shown that irregular contact with grandparents can lead to lower school grades.

The survey, commissioned by the family history site, also found that 61 per cent of people actually enjoy listening to their grandparents' stories, which contradicts the stereotype of the younger generation being disinterested in their elders' tales.

Wales has the most devoted grandchildren with 52 per cent visiting their grandparents every week compared to 39 per cent in Scotland and 34 per cent in the south of England.

Lorraine Kelly is launching Genes Reunited's campaign to encourage people to spend more time with their grandparents and chronicle their stories and experiences.

She said: "It's so important to talk to our relatives and find out what their lives were like, because it's part of our lives, where we are from and what makes us what we are today. Everyone's family has got a story to tell. I really regret that I didn't sit down with my grandfather and talk to him about his war experiences because I've not got the chance to do that now so it so important to get these stories while we still can."

The campaign will live on the dedicated YouTube channel and will showcase short videos of people recounting their incredible stories. The campaign launches at the beginning of February.

Professor Peter Smith of Goldsmith's University, an expert on the psychology behind grandparenting, said: "The relationship people have with their grandparents is extremely important and can provide a deeper sense of family, family history and culture. Research also shows the benefits to children in having grandparents present, particularly in school attainment. This is especially so for one-parent families.

"An advantage felt by both generations is the sharing of experiences and knowledge, it goes both ways, grandparents pass on advice and family culture and grandchildren pass on new skills such as using technology."

Rhoda Breakell, head of Genes Reunited, said: "We were shocked at how many people regret rarely seeing their grandparents. We feel it is so important that people listen to the older generations in their families before their stories are lost forever. Grandchildren enjoy listening to their grandparents tales from the past and, from this research, it would appear it is an important part of growing up to learn about your family history."

Media Enquiries

Press Team : e. [email protected]; t. +44 (0)207 845 7800 or +44 (0)207 994 0149

In Australia, Vicki Dawson : e. [email protected]; t. +61 (02) 9836-3587

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Notes to the Editor - About Genes Reunited

Genes Reunited was launched in 2002 as a sister-site to the Internet phenomenon Friends Reunited. Since then it has grown to become the UK's largest genealogy website.

It marked a revolution in genealogy and ancestry by combining them with Internet social-networking. Members are able to build their family tree by posting it on the site and investigating which ancestors they share with other members. They can also search historical records such as census, birth, death, marriage and military records.

It currently has over 11 million members and over 750 million names listed. One new name is added to the site every single second.