Sandra Arden (née Gilroy, previously Shaw) was the daughter of Alec and Joyce Gilroy. In 1990, Alec contacted Sandra for the first time in twenty years after obtaining her address from his ex-wife Joyce, who'd taken Sandra with her when she left Alec all those years ago. After discovering that Sandra lived in a massive Cheshire house, Alec met her and her husband Tim along with his granddaughter Victoria.
Despite Alec's keenness to get to know the Ardens, Sandra was uncomfortable with the status quo and told him she wanted him out of her life, breaking his heart. Bet Gilroy went to see Sandra to try to get her to change her mind but Sandra was cool towards her, calling Alec a ghost from the past. Soon after this, Sandra changed her mind and decided to let Alec keep in touch with them.
In July 1991, she broke the news that Alec's ex-wife, Joyce, had died. Sandra asked Alec to meet Victoria from boarding school and to put her up at the Rovers so that she and Tim could attend Joyce's funeral in Whitby. Before the Gilroys set off for the train station, a Police Sergeant arrived to tell Alec that Sandra and Tim had both been killed in a car crash in Whitby.