Proud grandma Barbara McInnis says she helped Polly Swann row to Olympic silver with her own lucky oar.
When Polly raced in the Rio Women’s Eights final, her nan used a wooden spoon to row along with her while watching on TV from her home in Morecambe.
Super-nan Barbara, also known as Babs, got very excited as she quite literally rowed every stroke with her granddaughter.
“Whenever she races I feel like I’m rowing with her,” said the retired former head teacher.
“They were sixth at one point in the Olympic final and I was shouting and screaming while using my lucky paddle. My son said ‘For God’s sake mum, it won’t make any difference’ but I said if I don’t do it, she won’t win!”
Polly, 26, was born in Lancaster then moved to Edinburgh when she was very young.
But many of her family members still live in our district, including her charismatic gran.
Babs says she is Polly’s biggest fan and decked her home out in Team GB colours to welcome the silver medallist when she stayed with her at the weekend.
“Supporting Polly has given me a purpose since my husband died six years ago,” she said.
“She’s a bonny girl and I’m so proud of her.”
Babs, who taught drama at Heysham High, is still full of beans at 83, also finding time to play ukulele with Morecambe Ukulele Club, sing with Lancaster and District Choral Society and make quilts.
“Polly says to me ‘Oh Nanna, you’re so OTT!’ And I say, yes, I’m from Morecambe, it’s the town of showbusiness!”
Watch Babs row along with her lucky oar while watching the Olympic final in our video.
And you can also see her playing her ukulele in tribute to Polly’s success HERE.