What was Sandra's background? The following was written by Sandra, herself, soon after being told that she had limited time left.
Born/brought up in Jewish community in Stamford Hill, north London.
First boyfriend (10 years older) from age 14; engaged to be married at 16; jilted at 17.
Age 19 went to Israel; intensive Hebrew language course. Miserable and lonely, came back home for 3 months, but miserable and lonely here too so returned to Israel. Met first husband, returned to London to get married age 20. Immediately pregnant, so stayed. Second son born 3 years later.
Separated at 29 (domestic violence); divorced at 31. Children stayed mostly with husband and, after High Court proceedings, were eventually taken abroad; no contact for many years.
(2) My father died.
1980: Within short order:
(1) Appointed Justice of the Peace. [I have specialised in Family Proceedings/child protection cases]
(2) My mother died.
(3) I remarried.
Left school at 16 with 5 O-levels. First job: office junior in small publishing house. After a few months joined London County Council as a junior clerk. Miserable: stayed 15 months, then undertook secretarial course.
In Israel worked as multi-lingual secretary to MD of Tel Aviv travel agency.
After children worked periodically as temporary shorthand/typist.
After separation, worked as administrator for new charity "Action Aid".
Although turning an honest penny through typing skills, I was determined to find some other way to earn a living, Eventually worked in consumer protection for 15 years, first as a senior complaints investigator, and ended up running an "ombudsman" watchdog body. Finally made redundant by Act of Parliament - strange but true.
1992-1995: University (LL.B), then Bar School
1995-2004: Barrister in private practice (Consumer Protection/Family Law).
December 2004: Diagnosed with rare and serious form of breast cancer. In treatment throughout 2005: plunged forthwith into chemotherapy; mastectomy; radiotherapy. Multiple additional clinical problems en route.
March 2006: Diagnosed with incurable
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a very young child I wrote playlets, poems and stories which were always read out to the class! Attempted first novel age 13. Always wrote when unhappy, which was very often. Wrote short stories as a young adult. Never published. Long gaps in writing - usually wrote at times of intense unhappiness, but very occasionally at times of intense happiness.
Not until recently have I shown my writing to anyone.
Sandra Lovegrove : 30 March 2006