We only know our parents as parents and our grandparents as grandparents. But before they knew us, they had rich, full lives with enough stories to fill a book. But largely, these stories go untold or often forgotten.
I was lucky enough to meet both sets of my Grandparents and had them all until my mid to late teens with my mothers mother passing when I was just 20 years old. I wasn’t around to see anything of any of my great grandparents, but I have managed to trace my family tree on my fathers side right back to the 1660s. It wasn’t easy and I can’t get any further back than that. Also I know very little about any of them beyond the bits I’ve been told about my great grandparents.
Here is a picture of my maternal grandparents in their younger days. (Before colour photographs)
Yes my Grandad was quite a good looking man wasn’t he. He was also a very special man in many ways.
Back in 1972, five years before I was born, my Grandad Wilfred Stretton received a very special award. He was awarded the bronze Royal humane society medal for bravery and “Meritorious conduct” by the then chairman of Manchester and Salford police authority.
My Grandad was a man who put others before his self, be it family, friends or others. And on one particular date in 1972 he went out of his way and risked his own life to save the lives of others.
The reason why they are holding a certificate and medal and in the newspaper is because in 1972 whilst on a holiday to Clarach in Wales, my Grandad spotted a group of children drowning in the sea. He stripped down, dived in and rescued three of them. Sadly one child didn’t make it. He didn’t think twice about jumping in to save those three children and jumped back in the cold sea many times before he was pulled back from trying again by others, thus risking his own life and all in view of his wife and three of his own children.
Unfortunately this amazing man passed away when I was just 17, back in 1995 from respiratory conditions. I will never forget my brave grandad even tho I wasn’t born when this happened, I certainly feel like I was with all the constant stories about it.
I have no idea who the children he saved are as they did not keep in touch. I’m not even sure of their names but being 1972 probably means that they may be grandparents themselves now too or at least parents. They may even be taking their children and their grandchildren the story of how a brave man saved them from drowning in the sea as children. I have of course shown my children the photographs and the newspaper clipping too and told them all about the brave man that will always be my Grandad.
This is my Untold stories story in collaboration with Premier care and bathing.
Do you have an untold story to tell? #my_untoldstory