40 years ago I made a friend whilst I was on holiday in Devon with my family. I didn't quite realise then, that this awesome girl was going to become my best friend in all the world. It didn’t take me long to work it out though. We were aged 6 and 7 and clicked immediately, as did our families. As we grew up we continued to be joined at the hip and to have all sorts of adventures, especially on our summer holidays together. Over the years, several questions seemed to follow me and Lou everywhere. Questions like…. “What on earth are they up to now?” “Which of you two thought that was a good idea?” “Are you sure you want to wear identical clothes yet again?” “You’ve spent HOW much money on the pool table?” As the years went by, we continued to be inseparable and, despite growing up and doing adult things like moving house, getting married and having kids, that never changed. In fact, our friendship just got stronger and was packed full of fun including things like holidays, kid & husband free nights away, festivals & gigs. The list goes on. To be honest, our mischief didn’t really subside as we got older. We would still get up to no good, even in recent years. I thought I may as well come clean today about one such thing. Every time we go away together with our families, everyone brings a home-made cake or dessert that they have baked themselves. Well…...that's what was supposed to happen, but I’m now letting you know that for all those years, Lou and I never made our cakes. We both bought them from shops, scuffed them up a bit and put them in tupperware boxes. We both found it highly amusing as we sat back and lapped up the praise. Lou was kind and gentle, warm and funny. She was honest and encouraging and gave the best advice to me and, I’m sure to many of you. Another thing that never ceased to amaze me about my friend was how selfless she was. In fact, the most selfless person I know. Despite all the challenges she faced, she was always thinking of others. Always asking how people were and taking such genuine interest in their lives. A few years ago we were sat together talking about her cancer and, in exasperation, I said to Lou “Why you?”….and she looked up at me and simply said “But why NOT me?” She really was the most wonderful wife, daughter, sister, friend….and of course Mummy. And what an amazing Mummy she was!!! Ella and Ivy meant everything to Lou. Along with Ian, they were literally her world. She loved nothing more than spending time with her girls, whether that was chilling out at home or, dancing and painting each other’s faces at a festival. Its a phrase you often hear, but its true…...Lou lives on through these two beautiful girls, and I for one will always cherish this thought and I’ll always cherish them. I am devastated beyond belief to lose Lou. It feels like I have lost a limb. However (and I can hear her now saying “Jo, lighten this up for goodness sake!!!”)...what an honour and a privilege it has been, not only for me, but for us all, to know, love and to be loved by our beautiful friend. I think we all know that Lou would want us to live our lives to the full to honour her memory. So let’s try and do that for her. Thank you Lou for being the best friend I could ever have wished for. I’ll always love you.