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Real Life

I'm a rent-a-gran!

Patricia Gilchrist discovered a little girl who needed a nanna, so she applied for the job. As 12-year-old Louise runs around the garden happily calling out to her nanna, the pair look like any other grandmother and granddaughter enjoying an afternoon together. But Patricia Gilchrist is no ordinary grandma ? she's Louise's rent-a-gran. Patricia has been Louise's "nanna" for four years, after Louise's mum Ushi, a single parent with no family nearby for support, decided Louise needed an older maternal figure in her life. They found each other through a charity called Aunties & Uncles, which matches up caring adults with disadvantaged children. Now, after four years, Pat and Louise can't imagine their lives without each other. "Louise is a beautiful girl," Pat says proudly. "It's a delight to have her in my life." Pat, 60, has three children and four grandchildren of her own, but wanted to open up her life to a child who didn't have the luxury of coming from a large family. "I thought it would be lovely to help a child who really needed another adult in their life," she says. "I approached Aunties & Uncles, who interviewed me and my husband John." Aunties & Uncles celebrates its 35th birthday this year. For more information go to www.auntiesanduncles.com.au For the full story, see this week's Woman's Day (on sale March 9).

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