My Dad has had something of an interesting life. When he was very young, he was part of a large family that didn’t have a lot. He struggled at school and suffered some health problems as a kid, but his determination and enterprising nature lead him through a maze of interesting little adventures. When he was younger, despite becoming the scathe of the small Northern local town’s officials due to trying to resolve some dangerous safety problems at a local factory, he went on to prove himself as a local councillor and subsequently became mayor of the town. He went on to run a nightclub, car retail businesses, become an executive running a collection of car retail outlets in Lancashire, became a hypnotherapist, lead a multimedia project to produce interactive motor-trade kiosks as well as one of the UK’s first motor-trade websites, then retired and bought and run a country pub, campaigned and succeeded to change the law regarding women’s rights in working mens clubs, and he now has a seat as a local magistrate and runs an antiques company with my mum who trained as a master restorer and has been rated as one of the top restorers in England. Most recently he was accepted for admission into Cambridge University to pursue his lifelong love of Criminology and Law, and yesterday he received his first grade on his course and was in the top 15% of the course. His sense of grounding and background made him a touch antsy about how he would fare in his first assessment (remembering he has not been to University before, and he is at Cambridge of all places), and he stormed it.
It is common for a dad to be proud of his kids, but I am hugely proud of my dad. Part of me is proud of his patchwork of achievements and his diversity in life over the years, particularly from such humble beginnings, but I am mainly proud of who he is as a human being. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, deeply committed to his family, has told my mum he loves her every day for 28 years, and has a strong belief in working hard but also playing hard. He strikes the perfect balance in terms of being motivated and career minded, maintaining a strong and loving relationship with his wife and kids, and always retaining a grounded sense of reality. Both of my parents are funny, engaging, wise and inspiring.
He and my mum have been incredibly supportive at every point in my life – both in terms of my career and my personal life. They have always been supportive of every element of what makes me who I am – my work, my music, my viewpoints and my choices. They are my template for the perfect relationship, and they are a significant inspiration in the values that I hold important in the world. Mum, Dad, I love you both and I am incredibly proud of you.