Kim finds long-lost ‘gran’ in an East End care home just down the road

Charity workers bringing the generations together both young and old got a surprise or two with their latest ‘cocktails in the care home’ venture.

The Magic Me charity is inviting young adults for cocktails to meet retired East Enders and share life’s experiences for an evening.

Kim Don, 20, looked in at last night’s get-together at Stepney Green’s Pat Shaw House with her mum Chris Bradley—only to find their old neighbour Carole Benfield, 86, who they had lost touch with.

“Carole was like a gran to me since I was a baby,” a delighted Kim told the East London Advertiser. “But she went into hospital and was then moved into a home—we didn’t know where. Mum and I walked in here and there she was.”

They were neighbours for 20 years until Carole, a widow, had an accident and couldn’t return to her flat alone on Mile End’s British Street Estate.

The second surprise for Magic Me’s 28-year-old community manager Clea House was meeting veteran campaigner Carolyn Meriden, who is being cared for following a hip operation.

American-born Carolyn told Clea all about her campaigns, her mind still very active delving into politics.

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She longs to get back into the thick of it, but at 86 has to walk with a frame.

“I don’t really need the frame,” the rebellious pensioner insists. “But they make me use it—I don’t use it when I’m in my own room. What I want is a place of my own.”

Carolyn was one of the campaigners who helped save the Tower Hamlets archives collection when it faced possible closure two years ago.

She also occupied renowned photographer Harry Diamond’s council flat in Stepney while he was in hospital, before he died, to protect his unique collection of East End pictures. Her defiance saved Harry’s lifelong archive which has been bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery.

The charity is actively recruiting volunteers for the parties to contact them on 020-3222 6064, email: