Pen Picture of Sandra

What was Sandra's background? The following was written by Sandra, herself, soon after being told that she had limited time left.



Sandra at left, her mother at right and sister front centre

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.


(1) Divorced.
(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.

Employment history:

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.

Sandra, 22 December 2004 (two weeks after diagnosis)1990-1992: Unemployed

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 metastatic cancer.

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