"Today is my sister Mary's 70th birthday. Initially me and Sheila were due to spend a week in Cornwall with her and Richard, but unfortunately my current six month course of chemotheraphy put paid to those plans.
Being the eldest girl in the family, our Mary (far left on the front row), seemed to naturally slot into place and take over the role that was once exercised by our mother when she lived; that of organizer, planner of all family party dos and chief bottle washer. Any newcomer into the family such as a brother or sister's new partner, whilst needing the collective approval of all seven siblings before social acceptance was granted, without the moral approval of our Mary (who has never as much parked on a double yellow line or walked on a pavement crack without crossing her fingers), the newcomer to the family will never have their name inscribed within the family bible.
Happy birthday sister and have a marvellous day. Please note Mary, that Sainthood may still be a distance off yet as in this rare family snapshot of the seven of us, it seems to be your younger sister Eileen beside you who is wearing the halo. Love you. Your older brother Billy xxx Ps You don't look a day older than your younger sister Eileen and please note that all my three younger brothers are now weightier than me and are balder!" William Forde: June 17th, 2014.