Claire Palmer is a widow - her husband Jeff was a Flight Lieutanant in the RAF, killed in a hanger fire accident. Presumably after her husband's death she lost their service house, and having no where else to live, she moved in with her in-laws, helping sell ornamental chamber pots and crockery on her father-in-law's market stall.
Des Barnes in his typically smarmy chat-up way, saw Claire on the market stall and bought her a (cold !) coffee - but she still fell for him, and within three months had moved into 6 Coronation Street - much to the annoyance of her mother-in-law. It soon became clear that Claire was still receiving Geoff's RAF pension worth £16,500 a year, which she would lose if she lived with someone else, and briefly moved into the flat above the Bookies to try and cover their tracks. Things didn't work out and by December 1996 Claire and Becky had moved back in with Des, Claire had relinquished her pension and started working at the Corner Shop to try and earn some money.
First and last lines
"Hiya" (First line, to Andy McDonald)