‘Our dear grandpa Ben will live on inside all of us’

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‘Our dear grandpa Ben will live on inside all of us’

Sir Ben Helfgott’s nine proud grandchildren this week delivered their own moving tribute to “a grandpa who will live on inside each of us”.

Sir Ben and his grandchildren at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Ben and his grandchildren at the National Portrait Gallery

Sir Ben’s nine proud grandchildren this week delivered their own moving tribute to “a grandpa who will live on inside each of us”.

Writing to Jewish News, Sam, Lucy, Amy, Alex, Jessica, Nicky, Reuben, Oscar and Noah, aged between 14 and 26, said: “Grandpa Ben has been the most inspirational, supportive and loving grandparent to us all. Growing up, we were always aware of his story – how he experienced such loss and trauma at a young age and then re-built his life with the mind-set to move forward and keep going.

“He believed life was meant to be lived and enjoyed and felt people thrive best when they are productive and connected. Because of this, he would often ask us questions like, ‘What book are you reading?’ or ‘What sport are you playing?’. He wanted us to be interested in the world around us and to get involved with as many opportunities as possible.”

The Helfgott family with Ben. Back row: Thea, Michael, Maurice, Danielle, Nathan, Laura. Middle Row: Sam, Ben, Arza, Lucy. Front row: Alex, Nicky, Jessica, Oscar, Noah, Reuben, Amy

They added: “Grandpa knew how to connect individually with each of his nine grandchildren. For some it was attending our sporting events, for others a simple chat over his notoriously large bowls of cereal. But for all of us, it was a lot of hugs and ‘I love yous’.

“We will miss our grandpa dearly but he lives on inside each of us. We feel privileged to have had the time we’ve had with him and together we look forward to continuing his legacy of being tolerant and understanding, thriving to always do our best in whatever we do and to enjoy life.”

Writing personally, Reuben added: “Grandpa Ben has been an inspiration to me my whole life.  He won gold medals at the 1950, 1953 and 1957 Maccabiah Games. I was picked for the under-18 football squad to represent Great Britain in the 2022 Games. I brought back a bronze medal. Showing grandpa my medal was a moment I will never forget. His face lit up and I felt a great connection between us. It was very special to share our Maccabiah experiences together.”

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