Sheffield super-gran Mary Scholey really does have her work cut out at this time of year – with an incredible 80 grandchildren to cater for.
The remarkable 82-year-old remembers the names of each and everyone of her 33 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren, who make up her ever-expanding family.
Christmas shopping starts early for ‘Nanan Mary’ in order to find and wrap gifts for her clan – and she gets through a fair few pack of cards too.
Stephen Gregory, one of her 10 children, said: “I don’t know how she does it, especially as she’s getting older – it’s amazing.
“She writes the majority or cards for herself and goes to Barnsley and Wombwell markets to find presents. It’s a massive task.”
Family-orientated Mary, who lives in Ecclesfield with her husband Raymond, had 10 children with her first husband Jim, who died about 20 years ago. Her offspring included two sets of twins, and the family has just kept on growing since – her children include: mum-of-three Lesley, aged 62; 60-year-old dad-of-two Stephen; father-of-three Neil, 58; 55-year-old dad-of-four Peter; mother-of-four Vicky, 54; 50-year-old mum-of-three Debbie; and 45-year-old twins Josie and Jane, both mums-of-three, as well as mum-of-three Jacqueline and Stephen’s twin Stuart, a dad-of-five, who have both passed away.
Read today’s other stories:
Four more great, great grandchildren are due next year to join her youngest relatives, including seven-month-old Harper Blu, daughter of Neil’s daughter Keeley.
Stephen said: “With her having 10 children, we didn’t need to produce many children for the family to grow quite rapidly. She gets a fair few visitors with grandchildren dropping in to see her,
“She’s a classic nanan in that she doesn’t stand for any nonsense, but she’s very loving. Family certainly comes first for her.”
Mary’s reams of relatives try to get together for special occasions, such as milestone birthdays and weddings, though it can be a logistical nightmare to get everyone to, and inside, one place.
As an early Christmas present for his mum, Stephen did manage to organise a festive family gathering this year at Wadsley Bridge Working Men’s Club in Sheffield, which saw more than 100 family members turn up. Stephen, who grew up in Upperthorpe with his large family, said: “It seemed like the right time of year to do it and I wanted Mum to see the majority of her family under one roof.
“A lot of family members hadn’t even met before – particularly cousins – so it was a great opportunity for them too. Most of the family live in the Sheffield area though there are a few relatives in Austria, Jersey and Australia. I’d be intrigued to know if there is a bigger family in Sheffield. “Ten children and almost 100 grandchildren is some going – we must be one of the biggest.”