Former professional rugby league player (Leeds Rhinos and Sheffield Eagles) and now general manager for Leeds-based Family Business Direct Cleaning Services Gavin Brown, 38, lives with wife of 12 years and clerical officer Lisa, 35, and their daughters Kaitlin, nine, and Chloe, five, in New Farnley.
What are your top tips for getting children to do what you ask?
We recently started giving the girls pocket money, which they get at the weekend. They start the week with a certain amount and knowing they could lose it by the weekend if they don’t behave seems to do the trick.
What family task takes you the longest?
Getting out of the house for the school run.
What’s the weirdest thing your children have done/brought home/done to your house?
Kaitlin has spent a lot of time with her grandad and often returns with gifts – resulting in our house looking like a farm with large toy horses and sheep.
What is your most treasured memory?
When Chloe was six months old a virus attacked her heart causing her to go into heart failure. We were transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where Chloe had a heart transplant at 10 months old. She’d been in hospital for six long months so the day we finally got to take her home and be back together as a family would have to be our most treasured memory.
Have your children ever really, really surprised you? How and why?
A few years ago Chloe spent four months in Newcastle’s Freeman hospital. We lived in the hospital accommodation while Kaitlin stayed with grandparents so she could go to school. During that time we only saw Kaitlin at the weekend, which was obviously very difficult. She always came up on a Saturday afternoon after her swimming lesson but one Friday evening she walked into the hospital restaurant and surprised us. It was a very emotional moment.
What’s the most bizarre thing you have found yourself saying since having kids?
Do you want to build a snowman? Chloe is obsessed with Disney’s film Frozen.
What’s the funniest thing your children have ever said/done?
When Kaitlin was about two years old Lisa went upstairs after putting her to bed, to find her stood at the top of the stairs covered head to toe in body cream.
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Mini moan - what really gets your goat?
Bad manners. It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.
What’s your favourite family day out?
Sundown Adventureland is a particular favourite of ours.
What hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy as a family and separately?
In the summer we enjoy a trip to the park feeding the ducks, or on a cold winters day snuggling up watching a movie together. Both girls love to dance! Kaitlin attends a local dance academy doing theatre arts, ballet and tap and takes part in local competitions. Chloe wants to be like her big sister and has recently started ballet and tap at the same dance school.
What’s the hardest thing about being a parent?
Not laughing when they’ve done something naughty but which was funny at the same time.
What’s a typical evening for the grown-ups once the children are in bed?
Usually a late tea from a Slimming World recipe followed by one of our favourite tv programmes NCIS, CSI or Hawaii 5 O.
What is Leeds’ most family-friendly restaurant and why?
The girls enjoy going to Hawthorne Farm near Leeds and Bradford Airport. Kaitlin loves having the carvery and tucking into a chocolate fudge cake and both enjoy entertaining themselves in the indoor play area or watching the planes go past.
What’s the best thing about weekends and why?
We love catching up with the family over the weekend and seeing our nieces and nephews/cousins.
What’s the number one thing you would change about Leeds?
Rush hour traffic – particularly in Kirkstall where the new Kirkstall Bridge shopping centre has made it a nightmare.
What’s the children’s favourite food/meal?
Chloe loves anything Italian - pizza, pasta. Kaitlin doesn’t really have a favourite but likes McDonalds as a treat.
One family member’s proudest achievement?
Kaitlin has won numerous trophies/medals at dance competitions. It’s always a proud moment watching her perform.
What one item can you not live without?
iPhone! It’s my link to my business and keeps me up to date with all the latest rugby league news.
What can your children not live without?
ipads! They love to facetime their friends.
Can you also tell me your child’s favourite book and author.
Chloe loves the Mr Men and Little Miss books by Charles Roger Hargreaves. We have to read one to her every night before bed.