Wham bam, thank you nan!

Sally and Jean, aka G-Ma and Grandma Jean volunteer their time to support many local school fundraisers and community events – thank you ladies!

Sally and Jean, aka G-Ma and Grandma Jean volunteer their time to support many local school fundraisers and community events – thank you ladies!

You may already know these two ladies, both Rainbow Beach locals, but if these faces are unfamiliar, let me introduce G-Ma – aka Sallie Knowles and Grandma Jean – aka Jean Sanderson.

Sal and Jean are both ‘nans’ as their children have grown up, left home and have families of their own – that doesn’t stop them getting involved with local events and school fundraisers though!

You can find G-Ma and Grandma Jean at almost every school event and many local community events, volunteering their time, supporting our kids and having a laugh whilst at it!

The pair first met in 2016 whilst attending Rainbow Beach State School Playgroup on a Thursday morning with their respective grandchildren, Jean’s youngest grandson Logan and Sal’s two granddaughters, Saidah and Kalarna. They ‘hit-it-off’ immediately with their shared sense of humour, interests and desire to get involved in the community.

“Both of us really enjoy being involved with the school, the highlight of my day is seeing the local school kids and getting a hug – we’ve been able to establish wonderful relationships with many of them who feel comfortable and safe with us,” Sallie said.

“We wouldn’t open our hearts or volunteer our time, unless the love was reciprocated,” she said.

“Some local families are without a grandparent figure, so we are really happy to fill that void – it’s good for us, good for the kids and great for the community,” explained Jean in her thick Lancashire accent.

“If I wasn’t out and about at the events, I’d be stuck in my unit, lonely, without any social interaction – I recommend more people get involved – it keeps us young,” Jean said.

Both Sal and Jean have had a long affiliation and love for Rainbow Beach. Jean and her late husband Bill Sanderson ran the Rainbow Beach Caravan Park in the 1980s, it was later re-named Rainbow Beach Holiday Village.

Jean said, “Bill and I managed the park for approximately 10 years, we loved it here.

“Our daughter, Victoria, attended Rainbow Beach State School, Garry and Emma went to Gympie High School and we only moved away to be closer to our daughters after they had moved to Brisbane,” she said.

Jean is back, living in Rainbow Beach permanently, “It’s great to be back, close to my son Garry, his wife Katie and their three boys who all attend the local school.”

Sallie, who hails from Brisbane has been coming to holiday in Rainbow for over 30 years, however, this is the first time living here.

“I had such a hectic life in Brisbane, coming here has changed everything – I’ve relaxed, slowed down and I have time to really appreciate what’s important,’ she smiled.

“I’ve even completed an Observers Course for Surf Lifesaving so now I am an Age Manager for Nippers, I’m now planning my Bronze course!” Sally exclaimed.

Jean and Sal plan to continue working with children and enjoying the Rainbow Beach lifestyle. So, at the next local school sports days, breakfast club, tuckshop, Lantern Walk, nippers or local library happening, look out for G-Ma and Grandma Jean, make sure you say hello and ‘thank you’.