Celebrating 100 years of friendship!


Be inspired

Who is the person that knows you best – and still likes you?

Chances are it’s your closest friend, the one you always want to share your news with.

Meet three inspiring double acts who have been there for each other through thick and thin – and whose stories add up to a century of mutual support

Marie Fowler and Chris Macrae, both 64 and from Devon, first met at school 52 years ago and now their families are melded together.

When I think back to being a teenager, I remember Chris by my side, sitting on the steps in the school playground listening to BBC Radio 1.

We first met aged 12 at secondary school in Kent. We were both quiet and studious, but despite being in the top set, maths was our downfall – and that brought us together. By the time we reached sixth form, we were best friends. In the common room was a record player. Chris and I both loved 1970s music – Chris adored Donny Osmond and the Bay City Rollers, while I pined after David Bowie and David Cassidy. Who held control over the record player was a constant battle. We’d often end up flicking back and forth between Chris’s Slade records and my David Bowie album.

Before leaving school in 1977, we did work experience at Barclays Bank.

I stayed a week, but Chris built a long career there. We were always there for each other’s firsts, from jobs to partners.

Marie (left) and Chris’s friendship has stood the test of time

When I married in 1979, Chris was my maid of honour. I was excited when she got married, but sad I couldn’t be there on her big day as my dad died just before.

We became mums around the same time – me to Adele, now 43, and Billi, 38, while Chris had Paul, 45, and Laura, 43. Life was busy juggling family and jobs, and we ended up drifting apart when my family and I moved to Plymouth for work. Chris and I would always send birthday and Christmas cards, but our friendship wasn’t as close as it once was.

The proof of a strong friendship is being able to pick up again after a gap, and that’s what happened to us. In 1994, my mum was very ill and was treated in London. I wanted to be nearby and turned to Chris. Despite the time that had passed, Chris and her husband, Duncan, insisted their door was always open for my family to stay over. Every weekend for a couple of months, their house became our home. I don’t know what I’d have done without it. When my mum sadly died, Chris and Duncan’s support helped a lot.

Our children got on just as well as we did. During the school holidays, Chris’s family would stay at our house




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