FATHER’s DAY: When the YEP launched its ‘Thanks Dad’ competition, we were inundated with responses from readers and local businesses, who have offered prizes worth hundreds of pounds. Interviews by Neil Hudson
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Here are some of the ‘thanks dad’ messages we received...
Russell Pickup, 53, Morley
Leeds midwife Lauren Pickup, 25, described her dad, Russell Pickup as ‘her hero’ after he flew out to Africa when she fell ill.
She said: “I went to Africa last June to volunteer as a midwife but with a few days I fell ill and became extremely sick.
“I was in a hospital in Tanzania to start with but within a few days I was flown out by the insurance company to a private hospital in Nairobi, which, effectively saved my life.
“I was still very ill and was another eight days on my own.”
During that time, Lauren refused to let her emotions get the better of her but remained in regular contact with her family, racking up an impressive £2,000 phone bill.
Back home in Leeds, mum Adrienne and dad Russell were making arrangements to fly out to their daughter – this involved them having the necessary vaccinations and beginning a course of anti-malaria tablets.
As soon as they were given the all clear, it was decided Russell would be the one to fly out. Lauren described how she felt when he walked into her room.
“It was about seven in the morning, he’d just got off the plane and come straight to me, I felt like he’d saved me, he was my hero.
“I’d been strong up to that point but seeing him meant I could let go and I did.
“He was there first thing in the morning and then all day, he went to get me things, he came with me when I had to have dialysis, he even donated his own blood when I needed it.”
Lauren, who works at Leeds General Infirmary, returned to England and her home city of Leeds after another three weeks but then spent a further three weeks in St James’s Hospital here and she has ongoing kidney problems as a result of her illness.
She added: “My dad is my hero who came and rescued me when I needed him. He Is just the best.”
Mark Gelder, 35, Armley
Mark was separated from his partner when Elle was young and came to have sole custody of his daughter.
Aged 24, he gave up work for three years until Elle was old enough to go to nursery.
He then returned to work as an industrial plate maker so he could provide for his daughter, who is the centre of his life.
Mother Denise, 54, added: “His life changed totally when he was 24 but he gave it all up for Elle and she’s his priority. I’m proud of what he did, even now he doesn’t go out much.”
Daughter Elle, 11, said: “My dad is the best. He’s looked after me since I was three-weeks-old when my mum gave me to him and he was 24, he gave up work for three years to look after me until I was old enough to go to nursery, then went back to work full time so he could give me the best he could.
He doesn’t have a girlfriend or go out much and it would make him very happy if I could win him something.
I love my dad very much.”
Andrew Walls, 37, Leeds
Accountant Andrew puts his family first and since the arrival of twin sons, Harry and Alex, six, they have become the centre of his world, taking them to football practice every week – they even have season tickets at Elland Road.
He also finds time to take them to school on a morning and read them stories before they go to bed on a night time.
Harry and Alex, who drew the picture above, said: “Thanks Dad for playing football with us when you should be doing the gardening! You are the best twin Daddy in the world. We love you.”
RAYMOND GILL, MIDDLETON
From daughter Julie: Many years ago when I was six my mother died of a brain tumour and my dad brought myself and two sisters and one brother up on his own. Despite my dad going through all the emotions of loosing the love of his life he managed to fill our childhood with such good memories. We were the only kids in our street to go on holiday every weekend in the summer holidays as he spent some compensation for loosing his big toe on a family caravan. Our childhood despite loosing our mum was filled with joy, love and happy times because of this amazing man. We are now all grown up, I’m the youngest at 46 and the eldest sister is 51. My dad is a star and has brought us up with respect, morals and sympathy for others. He to this day still continues to support his family including his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is a truly remarkable farther and grandad and would do anything to help his family out. He amazes me as he is so laid back and lovely despite all the problems we as children have caused him. We were/are really challenging but he managed to bring us up on his own. He loved my mother so much, he has never met another woman and he says he never gets lonely because he has all his family that surround him. Even if he doesn’t win the meal out I would just like to state publicly that this fine man, Raymond Gill, is my dad and I love and respect him so much for all that he has done and continues to do for me and my family thought out our lives.
WILLIAM RICHMOND, 67, Morley
From daughter Emma: I would like to nominate my dad because he has done so much for me over the years and my kids. We lost my brother in 1999 and it’s been a long journey since but my dad has held the family together, he gives everything and asks for nothing in return. He’s there for everyone, helps anyone and has been the very best a father could be and I just want to give him something back to show him how much I appreciate all he’s done for us and how much we love him. He’s a fantastic grandad as my kids no longer have their own dad around, my own dad has been their through everything, my kids have faced the first steps, first words, starting school etc - he is truly amazing and we all love him so much.
JASON DALBY, LEEDS From daughter Louise Dalby:I’d like to say thanks to my dad (Jason Dalby) for being my hero. My inspiration. My dad’s a supportive, wonderful, respectful man. He taught me right from wrong, he taught me not to tell lies, he taught me manners and respect for my elders. He picked me up when I fell in every aspect of the word. He’s the most amazing grandad I’ve ever met. He’s turning out just like his dad, I couldn’t ask for a better role model for my son than my dad. He’s amazing and I love him. He’s my star. And the best dad in the world.”
JOHN HARPER, MIDDLETON
From Michael, Claire and Barkley: My dad always, gives never takes. Always smiles. Never angry. Always listens never shouts. Luv u dad.
ANTHONY WILKINSON, LEEDS
From Mia Wilkinson: My dad (Anthony) is the best because he takes me everywhere and is always at my side. He is always happy and makes sure that I am happy as well. He helps me with homework and karate as well as helping me draw. Anything I am upset with its him I talk to. He is the world, moon and stars to me and always will be, he makes me laugh when I don’t want to. He is my big teddy bear and I love him so much. It’s as if he is my side kick - he knows when you’re sad and when you’re happy. If he wasn’t my dad I wouldn’t be happy with anyone else. He’s definitely my guardian angel.
MY COOL DAD From Harry Roper, six-and-a-half: My dad is brilliant because he takes me to exciting places. He teaches me cool things.
STEPHEN MORAN, LEEDS
From Claire Moran: My dad deserves a special mention because of what he does for me. He is retired but because of my health problems, he gets up in the morning and drives to my house three mornings a week to drive me to work. I can not express in words what difference this makes and do not think I can thank him enough. What is also special about this journey is that in half an hour we can listen to the radio and ‘put the world to rights’ - it is just me and my dad, spending some quality time together. As well as playing taxi driver, he does all my odd jobs that need doing around my house and is there (along with my mum) when needed. I just want to let him know how much I appreciate him and I hope that by entering this competition it gives me the opportunity to do so.
DAVID ANDREWS, LEEDS
From Louise Andrews: My dad is the best, he has always been there for all four of us and know looks after all his seven grandchildren, takes them to school every day, picks them up, his wife has health problems so basically my dad does everything and more.
CRAIG BRIAN PAPE, LEEDS
From Stacey Hobson: I’d like to enter my step-dad in this competition as we lost our mum back in 2010, he took on four kids, we were a hand full - the youngest is 18 and oldest 24 now. He could have just packed up and gone but he didn’t and still hasn’t, he’s been our rock. In the past four years he clothed us, put a roof over our heads, he’s just been the best. He was with my mam 11 years. I lost my real dad was I was seven, he’s been in my life for a hell of a lot of years. He’s just one in a million and it would be nice for him to win it as we ain’t realy done much for him and he’s done everything for us - it’s nice to be able to just say thanks to him in a way that he won’t forget.
DEREK JONES, LEEDS
From Josh and Layla, who wrote a poem called ‘my dad’: He’s sweet and loving; And can always understand me; Patient he is; And he always makes a big difference ; in my everyday life. Always managing to put a smile on my face; Even when his days aren’t so good; My daddy is my hero. He is my best friend who I can always trust; And I don’t have to worry about being misjudged; He is my daddy; And above everybody he is who makes me feel very happy; The truth is I love my dad. He is the best daddy because he picked me and my sister and adopted us; He gives us a loving and secure home; Are lives now are full of fun things and we have a lot to look forward to; we love you so so much.
JONATHAN LEON SAM
From Wendy Fletcher: I want to tell you how good my dad is - he doesn’t live with us but still comes round daily to help clean and look after us he’s always there for us he’s fun loving and really cares. My mum is in and out the hospital with breathing problems, nothing is ever too much for my dad, my older brother lives with my dad and has done for last 10 years. My dad’s brilliant and he deserves a treat.
DAVID JORDAN, LEEDS
From Ellie: The three main reasons I love my daddy are: he gives me the world’s best hugs, kisses and cuddles, because he was a brilliant football player and he has really impressed me with his 75 trophies and he always makes me happy and I am really grateful for him being my
From Ruby: And I love my daddy because when I get upset he asks me what’s wrong and makes it right. when I am hungry he makes me lovely food. Daddy always makes me laugh and winds me up with his silly voices and dancing. I love his cuddles. Ruby Jordan age 8
DANIEL GILES, LEEDS
From Alex Giles: Hi, Dad I don’t think I tell you this enough, but thanks for everything. You’ve been amazing over the last 15 years and I know you’ll be just as great of a dad to Lucas as you have been for me. Lots of love.