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As Margaret Laurence prepared to leave Elm Cottage in Penn, Buckinghamshire, to begin a year as Writer in Residence at the University of Toronto's Massey College, she enlisted the aid of author Dave Godfrey to locate a young Canadian couple who could look after the cottage and provide company for her children, Jocelyn and David. Ian Cameron was a graduate student at York University studying with Professor Clara Thomas, and his wife Sandy was a don at York. They were in England while Ian completed his M.A. thesis on D.H. Laurence, as well as working on his own fiction. The Camerons moved into Elm Cottage in 1969, and developed a close friendship with Laurence that lasted until her death in 1987.