Super dads; Parent charity Families Need Fathers is looking for South Wales' Superdad 2011. Cathy Owen talked to some of the inspirational dads who have been nominated.
The 61-year-old, from Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, and his devoted wife Barbara didn't have to think twice about caring for their 19-year-old granddaughter Laura and 10-year-old grandson Daniel, after their mum Nicola's death in February last year.
They have given the siblings, and their two other foster boys, aged 12 and 13, a loving home and are wholly committed to bringing up a second set of children.
"I describe it as being a dad second time around," laughs Mick, who had two daughters.
"It has helped us to get on with life after Nicola's death. You don't expect your children to go before you, but the children have given us something to carry on for. Daniel looks to me as a father and we have a very close relationship. Our granddaughter has special needs and is currently in an adult unit learning how to live independently. For us they give us something else to focus on."
Mick, who works in newspaper distribution, bought a caravan in Aberystwyth for the children to go at weekends and holidays to try and forget their troubles.
"I thought it would be a good idea because otherwise we would spend our weekends by the graveside. The children love it there and it's great to see them laughing and having fun."
Mick was nominated for the Superdad title by Debbie Plenty, who works for Age Concern as its Grandparent Development Officer.
"I help grandparents who look after their grandchildren and we hold a monthly get together," explains Debbie.
"Mick is a total inspiration. He is one of the sweetest, nicest people you could meet and Barbara too. He has had so much difficulty and tragedy in his life, but always has a smile. Mick will often come to the meetings and give a talk and he has provided a lot of support to other grandparents looking after their grandchildren. Mick is always ready to help, even though he has so much going on in his life."
Families Need Fathers Cymru is presenting pounds 500 to South Wales' Superdad 2011.
The presentation will be made at a special event in the National Assembly on Thursday to mark Father's Day.
Paul Apreda , from the family charity, said: "Positive male role models are essential to the health, happiness and educational attainment of children and young people.
"Research from Cardiff University has shown that fathers simply talking with their children can dramatically reduce smoking levels making a major contribution to young people's health. Just like mums, dads come in all shapes, sizes and types. Recognising the diversity of the fatherhood experience is vital to improving the lives of children in Wales.
"We hope that this award will highlight the importance of fathers.
"We're already working with Cardiff Council to support a fatherhood strategy for the city. We hope that we can also work with the Assembly Government to extend that across the whole of Wales."
Paul Hackney and his son Jay do everything together. And the 42-year-old single dad, from Caerphilly, makes sure that his job as a taxi driver works around looking after his son.
Ten-year-old Jay spends the week with his dad and then goes to stay with his mum in Hengoed while Paul works his shifts as a taxi driver.
"He is a bit of a mini-me," laughs Paul. "We do everything together and we are inseparable. I take him to karate twice a week, we enjoy playing the keyboards and guitar and just enjoy doing things together.
"I am really lucky because I can organise my work around looking after Jay.
"I think times have changed and there is a lot more flexibility for families, but everyone is different.
I just think it is important to spend time with your children. It is good for Jay and it is good for me."
When Stephen Morse was made redundant, it made more sense for him to become a full-time dad to his two young children.
His eldest son Daniel was one and his wife Julie was expecting their second child.
"We did the maths and worked out that we would be better off if my wife continued to work and I became a stay at home dad," explains Stephen, who had been working as a community artist.
"Childcare for both children would have been too much, if we were both in work."
So, Julie, who is now expecting their third child any day, continued to work full-time as an art teacher, while Stephen looks after Daniel, now three, and Aimee, one.
And it is a role that Stephen, from Beddau, has embraced and admits he finds really fulfilling.
"I enjoy it," he says. "It is fantastic to have that connection with the children and it is a situation that works well for us.
"But I have met a few prejudices along the way. I used to take Daniel to a swimming group at a local leisure centre and there were actually complaints from some of the mums about the fact there were men in the pool.
"It didn't stop me going though because that is their problem, not mine."
Stephen still keeps up with work by helping out local community art projects and most Saturdays he can be found at the Ely and Caerau Family Centre, Cardiff, at a weekly get together for dads.
"I really like going along to meet other fathers and I think it is really important to have groups like that too," says Stephen.
"We all get on really well and it is great that there is something for parents too."
Linda Butler, from the family centre, nominated Stephen for the award.
She said: "We wanted to really encourage dads to get involved and thought a group like this would be fantastic.
We did have it during the week, but then realised that a lot of dads work and couldn't make it. We changed it to Saturday mornings during term time and the response has been amazing.
It has been so successful that some of the dads meet up away fromthe class aswell. Stephen has been a fantastic inspiration. He has helped us with some murals and getting local children involved in creating them. He is a great credit because he juggles a real commitment to the community as well as being a model dad himself."
* Stephen Morse with wife Julie and children Dan and Aimee PICTURE: Richard Swingler[umlaut]
* Mick Macey and grandson Daniel PICTURE: Matthew Horwood Paul Hackney and his son Jay Picture: Liz Pearce[umlaut]
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|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jun 14, 2011|
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