You probably already know the joke I’m thinking of: ‘My dog’s blind, asthmatic and only has three legs.’ ‘What’s its name?’ ‘Lucky.’

Well, in many respects, that tale of canine misadventure reminds me of my friend Liz’s predicament. Over the past five years, she’s had breast cancer (twice), countless chemotherapy sessions, ongoing heart trouble and a badly arthritic right hip that has rendered her virtually immobile.

But there’s something else that Liz – now aged 61 and with only one sister living hundreds of miles away in Sheffield – has had. And that’s a core group of good friends and kind neighbours who think the world of her. More