Daily Mail

Extraordin­ary LIVES

- MY FRIEND SARAH by Val Melvin

I HAD known Sarah all her life. She was happy and funny, a bubbly character who brought laughter and joy to everyone around her. But tragically she was taken at the age of only 48, by the same hereditary illness that had claimed her father.

Sarah was born and lived all her life in Hayes, Middlesex, where her family and mine were neighbours in a small close and got to know each other well. Sarah had an older brother, Steven, and their wonderful, dedicated mother (also called Val) and I became great friends. Her children and my two sons, Stuart and Russell, played together on our safe, quiet street. Money was tight back in the 1970s and 1980s, so we didn’t go out a lot but our families entertaine­d each other at home.

After Sarah left school she acquired an NVQ in Business and Administra­tion and went to work for GE Money as a customer adviser and administra­tor. Afterwards she worked for the Welcome Financial Company as accounts manager. She had a gift for bringing out the best in people and could engage anyone in conversati­on. Even in the early stages of her illness, while she was still able to work, she found time to help others with their

problems although she realised things weren’t right with herself.

Her father Les died from Early Onset Familial Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 45, and when Sarah reached her early 40s she too began to develop symptoms of the disease. She’d been in a long-term relationsh­ip, but at that point she and her partner separated and Sarah spent her final six or seven years being cared for at the family home in Hayes by Val. Sarah had a wide circle of friends with whom she went on holidays, Cornwall being her favourite place. She enjoyed music, especially the songs of Michael Bublé and Van Morrison, and dancing. Even after she was wheelchair-bound her friends continued to take her out. She relished life, just as her father had done; watching him succumb to his illness had been unbearably sad for her. Sarah adored Christmas and last year as it neared, it seemed inevitable that she would not survive for much longer. She made it to Christmas morning before passing away. Val had dedicated herself to caring for her daughter, even though she had major health issues herself. The daily struggles of nursing Sarah were huge but Val never asked ‘why me?’ She accepted it as the hand she had been dealt by life. Thankfully, she has her healthy son Steven and will be able to watch his two children grow and thrive. We all loved Sarah and I cannot express how much I admire her mother Val.

SARAH ANITA FORSTER, born november 16, 1974; died December 25, 2022, aged 48.

 ?? ?? Helped others: Sarah Forster
Helped others: Sarah Forster

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