A loving grandson has paid a glowing testament to his inspirational nan who stayed strong for him in the face of a terrible series of bereavements.
Connell Blackburn-Green, 25, from Accrington, says his grandma Barbara Blackburn is his “absolute rock” to him, contacted the Observer to say he wanted to publicly thank her for all she has done for him while he has been growing up.
Barbara, 79, of Water Street in Accrington, lost her daughter – Connell’s mother – as well as her husband, and sister, all to cancer in the space of little over a year, but stayed strong throughout.
Connell, who works for a travel company, said her selflessness makes her so special and that she is there for him ‘no matter what’.
He said: “My grandma has spent years keeping everyone else around her happy and trying her best to support as many parts of the community as possible. We have been through a lot together over the past 15 years and she has been my absolute rock.
“Her patience, smile, sense of humour, tenacity, selflessness and positive attitude is absolutely unbelievable and seemingly never-ending.
“The one specific thing she has done for me is being there to support me no matter what. She’s been a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with, a person to confide in and someone to rely on.”
Barbara lost her husband Brian, daughter Kathryn, and her sister Joan, to cancer in 2004 and 2005, and Connell, who lives in Lower Darwen, said he cannot believe how she managed to cope and stay so positive.
He added: “I have absolutely no idea how she got through, after the passing of her sister, my grandfather and my mum.
“The strength that she not only displays but emanates to everyone else is remarkable. My grandma has spent plenty of time putting the hours in at church and running the dominoes club on a Thursday afternoon.
“She’s been part of a walking group and spends plenty of time with friends too. All these things have played a pivotal role in my grandma’s fantastic attitude towards life.”
Barbara has run the dominoes club for 20 years at Cambridge Street Church, which she set up with Brian, something she is ‘passionate’ about.
Connell added: “It’s still proving to be a huge success, a place to convene and share good times together, something my grandma is very passionate about.”