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'We can tell each other anything'

"I remember Mam used to say to me when I was growing up, 'Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the air and you'll be grand'. She always encouraged us to do our various things but she wasn't a pushy mum.

"Mam is very tolerant -- I remember once a man called to the door and he looked like a tramp. He asked for a cup of water and Mam gave him some dinner, too. It turned out he was a priest travelling the world and he later wrote about Mam's kindness to him.

"I was very clingy when I was younger and I stalked my Mam when I was four -- I hid in the boot of the car. She could hear a strange noise when she was driving and got a fright when she saw me in the boot!

"I don't get home as often as I'd like but I talk to Mam on the phone every day and I know that we can tell each other anything."