At the beginning of May, we brought you the story of radio ham George Crawford who was making the first announcements about ME Awareness Week from his home in the Scottish Borders on call sign GB0ME (Golf Bravo Zero Mike Echo).
We are now delighted to learn that George has upgraded his ‘Man Cave’ at Chirnside into a two-seater radio shack that he now shares with partner Michelle Craig for when she stays over from her home in Coldstream.
And Michelle is now the proud holder of a Foundation Amateur Radio Licence. She's become a radio ham in her own right.
Mother-of two Michelle – call sign MM7MSL – told us:
“I met George when I was working for the care company his mother was a service-user with and I won’t lie. He slapped me with a wet kipper that day. I never believed in love at first sight until I met George.
“I literally couldn’t wait to finish work with that company on the Friday so we could arrange to meet again. It was just pure luck that I had arranged to leave the company that week.
“We had our first date on the Saturday and I just knew he was the one for me!”
She says she’s found her vocation in caring, although she can no longer work full-time.
Part of the package with 48-year-old George was the amateur radio hobby that has filled his spare time since illness forced him to give up working in the mechanical engineering projects industry.
Michelle (44), who is on the committee at the Borders ME Group, has now also fallen wholly in love with amateur radio.
“The hobby was totally George’s but, after seeing how social it was for people in lockdown and listening to him on air, I just like the idea of speaking to people from all over the world – especially as there are other radio amateurs out there who suffer from this naff illness which is very socially isolating.”
Michelle says she now spends her days when she is not at work taking afternoon naps most days, at one home or the other. She also enjoys being with horses – either helping look after a horse owned by older son Hayden’s girlfriend or, when she’s well enough, riding another horse called Angel.
“Up until my last ME crash, I was actually riding Angel. She’s a lovely, stubborn old mare which is probably why I bonded with her so well.”
There’s also a dog in her life – five-year-old Pebbles, who she shares with younger son Lewis – and a “big, very vocal, high maintenance” cat called Chester.
Michelle says the ME monster has changed her life significantly since she was first diagnosed eight years ago. Each crash has shown how easy it is to be fooled into thinking that your condition has stabilised when, in fact, the flare-ups show she can still doing too much at the time.
“When I was diagnosed, I thought my world would end but, with the support of family, friends and the community of Coldstream, I was told never to give up hope… and I never will.”