Vow to dying husband that I'd look after his centenarian dad
JENNY Smith does not know where she gets the energy to look after her 104-year-old father-in-law but she promised her husband before he died that she would.
The Smalley grandma vowed to look after her husband Mike's father, Herbert Grenville Smith, known as Gren, and is on call "24 hours a day, seven days a week".
Now she has been nominated for our Community Champions carer award.
Jenny, of Dobholes Lane, Smalley, said: "I go up four times a day to make sure he's all right and cook him his dinner. He's in fantastic shape considering his age. And I promised Mike that I'd look after him."
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Gren is not the first relative that she has cared for. She said: "I worked for social services as a carer for 16 years but I stopped in 2004 to look after my parents. They were getting frail so my sister, Monica, and I decided that we'd help them."
Jenny and her sister would cook and clean for mum Lily Moore and dad Verdun.
"Mum was a real chatterbox," added Jenny, "and dad slept all the time so we decided that they were better going into a home for the social side of things for mum. I still visited and they were settling in really nicely."
Then she had to deliver the news that their son, Gary, had died at the age of 66.
Jenny said: "Gary was suffering from brain cancer and he passed away. It was terrible having to tell them."
Then in April 2005, just a day before his 89th birthday, Jenny's father died.
She said: "He had respiratory problems and he passed away. So I had to tell mum that he had died. Mum and dad had been together for years and they had such a close bond that, when he died she only lasted until July. We think she died of a broken heart."
A year went by before more bad news. Jenny's husband had thyroid cancer. She said: "Then it travelled to his brain and left him paralysed from the waist down and he had to be in a wheelchair but I still cared for him. He died in the September, around his dad's 100th birthday and I had to tell him that Mike had died."
Jenny has kept to her word by looking after Gren. She said: "He has carers, who are fantastic, but they can't do everything so I'm up there with him a lot and if they ever need me, I'm always on the end of the phone. I also look after a friend of mine, Sandra Blood, who has eye problems. I just love helping people."
Jenny was nominated for the Community Champions award by Rekha Thaker who runs Smalley Post Office, a previous winner herself.
She said: "I always see Jenny in my shop. She's always very happy and smiley and I know she does so much good work. She really deserves a nomination."
There are 14 categories in the 2013 awards, organised by the Mayor of Derby's office and sponsored by Derbyshire Building Society and Derby County. Nominations are in the categories of carer, fund-raiser of the year, cultural champion, diversity, achieving against the odds, children in the community, courage, extra mile, great neighbour, kindness to animals, unsung sporting hero, the Chief Constable's special award, the Mayor's volunteer award and the Be Inspiring award.