I lost my fianc to leukaemia, but in my dreams hes just working the night shift – Telegraph.co.uk

By daniellenierenberg

The proposal was nothing fancy. Shawn Russell arrived at the pub, placed a pint on the table in front of Sarah Hodgetts and asked her to marry him.

It was out of the blue, with no ring, nothing. And I thought: Yeah, thats a really good idea, we should just get married, says Sarah. Id been in love with him for ages.

Their story began seven years earlier, in 2009, also in a pub in north London. He was sitting in his flat cap, good Yorkshireman that he was, and was reading the sports pages. I had just got off the Tube after work. From my perspective, it was love at first sight, says Sarah.

But dating wasnt easy. Shawn, a boarding school-educated boy from an Army family, who had lost his mother to leukaemia when he was two, worked as a picture editor at The Telegraph. Although Sarah was down the road in Westminster, where she worked as a civil servant (and still does), their hours were long and their schedules largely incompatible. They managed just six months initially.

It was a disaster trying to date, so we ended up with a firework display of an argument and decided there was no way we could, says Sarah over coffee near her office.

Their split didnt last, however; they had far too much in common. Besides his ridiculous sense of humour, Shawn was so into news and politics, and I worked in politics, so we couldnt not communicate. We realised we were incredibly good friends, says Sarah. Plus, she adds with a smile, he was a very attractive, 6ft 4in blue-eyed man who I was completely smitten with.

Over time, they got back together in a non-committal way, sharing weekends when their busy lives permitted. It was during this period, three-and-a-half years ago, that Shawn, then 44, proposed. The following week, he moved in with Sarah, then 41, and her son Eddy, 10, from a previous relationship, in Kings Cross, and, like all newly engaged couples, they started making plans for their future. A pair of recovering workaholics, they were going to transform their lives.

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I lost my fianc to leukaemia, but in my dreams hes just working the night shift - Telegraph.co.uk

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