Rachael and Irene met in 1980, when Irene was a bubbly, funny and warm-hearted young teacher and Rachael, seven years her junior, a budding academic specialising in health and development.
The realisation of their love for each other came simultaneously and suddenly and led to a partnership that lasted half a lifetime. With a shared zest for life, they travelled widely, worked hard and expected to grow old together in their home in the north of England. When Irene was only in her early 50s she started to falter. When she was finally diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Rachael looked after her for as long as possible at home. She continued working – a hard decision that turned out for the best.