In 1953, I was 17 years old and I worked in a dairy in Tenterden, Kent, where I lived with my mother and twin sister, Carol. I loved my job, but in the early months of that year I began to feel ill. I could not walk straight, I was finding it hard to chew anything and would often find myself choking and worse of all, I began to feel and look like a 'rag doll'. My mother took me to the doctors and I was admitted straight away into Ashford Hospital where my health continued to decline and in June 1953, the decision was made to transfer me to the Middlesex Hospital in London. I was quite ill by this time and don't remember much about the journey, but I do remember that out of the window of the ambulance I could just see all the decorations through London of the coronation that had taken place earlier that month.

I arrived at the hospital very tired and weak and in the following few days I underwent many tests. Finally, a diagnosis of myasthenia gravis was made and I was scheduled for surgery straight away. On the 1st July 1953 I underwent surgery for the removal of my thymus gland. After the operation I began to feel a lot better and my health picked up rapidly. I could swallow again and my speech was somewhat better, even if it was very slow. I t was, however, hard to walk again without falling down.

Following my time in the hospital, I was sent to a convalescent home in Margate for a month where I learnt to take all the medication and also some amount of fear for the future. I continued to feel a lot better in the coming weeks and even managed to get a job working with Carol in the local cinema as an usherette. I enjoyed the job but I did get very tired at times and my speech was often slow.

On one of my days off from work, I went into Hythe to see a friend and visited a little cafe there in order to take my tablets and these two fellows walked in. We got talking and I found out that they were both in the Gloucester Regiment int the Army. One of the soldiers was Malcolm (later to become my husband) and over the next few months he travelled down to Tenterden from Ashford, where he was based, as often as he could.

During 1954, we arranged our wedding together with Carol and her partner Reg, a farm worker, and we finally had a double wedding on Thursday 18th September 1954.

In the first years of married life, I had many bad days, often collapsing on the floor, unable to do very much at all. Malcolm was wonderful looking after me when I was poorly and could not speak. He actually became quite an expert in telling the doctors about my condition because in the early days not a lot was known about myasthenia gravis. We were blessed with four children in all, three daughter and a son and we now have 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Unfortunately, I lost Malcolm in July 2017 and I miss him very much. Even though I now have a few other ailments, including the early onset of Alzheimer's, I still continue to take my medication for my myasthenia, even though it is not as much as I used to, and I am still going strong at the age of 83.