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The Life Support Café

(occasionally known aNicky & Sally on Gas and Air!)

is looking for a place to call home!

Magazine, TV, Radio




Written by Sally Bee

To the outside world at first glance, I can't imagine people pairing up Nicky Pattinson and me as a working two-some. We seem like opposites in so many ways. The way we look, dress and speak just doesn’t match. But our hearts do.


You know sometimes, you can meet someone for the first time and feel like you've known them forever. That’s us.


We met at a mutual friend's house on a cold February morning. I was already in the warm kitchen and Nicky burst in swearing about the weather outside in a loud and visceral voice that I thought she was putting on for comedic effect. I saw an entertaining moment brewing so did that really embarrassing thing of ‘joining in’ and copying her…only it wasn't an act. This was how Nicky genuinely spoke. She’s known for that voice and thankfully she joined in the joke of my mistake!


2 years later and many heartbreaking but also hilarious experiences shared, Nicky and I have fallen into a new conjoined role that we never imagined was in our plan.


‘Welcome to The Life Support Café. Get the kettle on, pull up a chair and let us be your Aunties…Agony Aunts that is!’


It transpires that we both grew up reading Jackie magazine and along with the weekly features; how to apply turquoise eyeliner… how to tell the boy in your class that you love him, without actually telling the boy in your class that you love him… we were both addicted to the regular Cathy and Clare Problem Page.







(I’ve recently done a little research and feel somewhat let down that neither Cathy nor Clare actually existed…although the zillions of problems sent in via post from the young readers certainly did!)


As Nicky and I got to know each other and shared our life experiences over sparkling water (me) and Diet Coke (Nicky) I have to tell you that a little bit of magic happened.


The traumas that we have both suffered, the experiences we’ve had, couldn’t be more different, yet our reactions and roads travelled since, are as if from the same person.


Nicky’s story broke my heart. She is mum to Jackson and Dhani, but Jackson died. When he was only 4 months old.


He wasn’t ill, it was a terrible avoidable mistake that happened during a day spent at nursery. At the time Nicky was running a hugely successful market stall in Holmfirth, Yorkshire. She took the call at work that all parents dread and says that upon hearing the words - she suddenly heard a long, loud, wretching scream that just went on and on. It took her a while to realise that the terrible sound was coming from her. Her lungs, her heart.


In the following couple of years - while continuing to grieve the loss of Jackson and giving birth to her younger son, Nicky also discovered that things were not as advertised at home. There was no money in the bank, £250,000 of personal debt in her name…and soon…the marriage broke down. Most people would have buckled – but she found a way to recreate a life for herself and her boy.



When I met Nicky, I recognised her vulnerabilities and could identify with her past pain, but more than anything it was her strength that radiated. Our conversations over the past 2 years have proven the point that Nicky made to me when she first told me about Jackson.


When my time comes to meet Jackson again, and I will, I have 2 choices.

He will either say; ‘

’Oh Mum,  you never did anything after I left”


“BRILLIANT Mum!…you did it!”



She’s since made quite a name for herself as a speaker, teaching corporates all the ways of expression that created the success on the market stall…and helping women define themselves and become even more successful over 40.






My journey hasn’t been without trauma but I’m so grateful that my children remain safe. My story relates to my health or lack of it.

I was 36 years old when my eyes closed and I took what was supposed to be my last breath. My husband came into the operating theatre sobbing, he had been told to come and say goodbye.


There was a long, silent pause… and then my next miracle breath arrived.


And although I've since left this planet twice and been brought back, (6 heart attacks survived so far and still counting) and I’ve now been diagnosed with two really horrible conditions that leave me prone to more heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms, I continue to keep taking my next miracle breaths.


Life is definitely challenging. Living with a potentially fatal heart condition means that I go for quality rather than quantity, but of course, playing in extra time would be a bonus that I secretly hope for.


So, through our very personal experiences, Nicky and I both share a rather special view of the world and beyond. And the magic between us that I mentioned? Well, that’s all to do with living life to the absolute fullest, squeezing all the juice out, then pulping the skin and getting even more. We both accept that death is inevitable and we are totally OK with that. Dying actually isn’t the worst thing that could happen to either of us – living a half-life, filled with fear and not making Jackson proud would be much worse!


The Life Support Café is now open for to support you through your problems.

Why is The Life Support Café so needed?


Sally & Nicky explain.



The point is – particularly post covid…many are struggling with nobody to talk to. There’s never been a greater need for an independent ear, some straight talking and a big helping hand. It’s impossible to fix everything for everybody – but you sure can help them get by day by day.



My inbox is full of messages from people who are drowning in self-doubt. They feel their confidence had run for the hills, they tell me they are broken, alone, afraid and stuck. They write with one ‘problem’ which usually turns out to be a combination of many, and getting to the bottom of what is actually the issue, showing them the life-tools that I use and watching the light come back on in their eyes is my best therapy!


The Life Support Cafe is looking for a place to call home:

Newspaper, radio, TV…

We look forward to chatting with you about this over a cuppa.

Email us at

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