Richard Noden with his grandmother Olive.

He’s nearly always cheerful and bright, though mostly hungry

Richard Noden, 38

I was working in Malawi and a minibus I was travelling in flipped off the road. Many people died and I was lucky to survive, but I broke my back. When I got back to the UK the vertebrae were fusing and my options were limited, leaving me in fairly constant pain.

As a child, I lived next door to my grandparents, so when I found I couldn’t manage alone I moved in with them. Grandpa, Ken, died five months later so I was glad to keep Grandma company.

I work from home now as a tutor. I’m a bit slapdash, whereas she likes everything done the way she and Grandpa did for 68 years. She’s been very tolerant, and I’ve been intermittently tolerant of her chatting while I’m working. We share chores, depending on who has the time and the strength. When I was going through my darkest times she was great.

Olive Stephenson, 92

Richard has had a bad time, yet despite that he’s nearly always cheerful and bright, though mostly hungry. I’d have to think deeply to come up with any disadvantage to him being here. Our musical tastes don’t match, but otherwise we’re a great partnership. The most important thing to me is that we laugh together and that’s always been the case, ever since he was tiny.

We don’t live in each other’s pockets, as we both have a lot on, and because of his back he needs to lie down and rest regularly.

It’s helpful that he’s so tall and reaches things for me now, I’m older and I’ve shrunk. It was so good to have his company when Ken died – he was very comforting. I’ve got a lot of gardening to do before I pop off, so I think we’ll be living together for a while yet.