Some of the most important things I have learned in life are these: perseverance, loyalty, discretion, unqualified acceptance of others, hard work and how to keep cupboards neat. I have tried to take on all of them, but keep having trouble with the last.

The person who has exemplified them to me is my mother. She has to be the most committed, most loyal, most dedicated person that I know. (She also has the neatest cupboards.)

My mother is fierce in the face of injustice and loving in the face of tears. She is not afraid of anything, and she has taught me not to be afraid either.

She is frequently the voice of common sense and reason in my head, and on the telephone too. When I feel sad or insecure, I call my mother for a reality fix.

I only hope when I'm her age, I'll be half the woman she is. Thanks mum.