When Angela Millthorpe realised she wasn’t going to survive to see her eight kids grow up, she started making plans to help her husband Ian cope.
One day, in the months before she died of cancer in October 2010, she asked Ian about the children’s birthdays – and it inspired a 15-point list of rules that he’s followed in the years since.
Angie wasn't too worried about the older children, Ryan, now 32, Damon 29, and Reece, 27 - all born before Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer. But she was concerned about how Ian would cope with the children they had after: Connor, now 19, twins Jake and Jade, 15, Corey, 12, and Ella, 10.
Ian, now 56, celebrated Father's Day (in the UK it's on the third Sunday in June) with his children and recalled the story, printed in The Sun.
Raising eight kids on his own was always going to be difficult.
"Luckily she made it easier for me," Ian said.
The Barnsley man said that when he couldn't remember their son's Corey's birthday, she grabbed a notebook and jotted each child's down on a page... along with a list of rules for Ian to follow.
1. Plait girls hair or it splits.
2. Must do homework before bed.
3. Must be in one hour before dark.
4. Vet TV programs.
5. Don’t let them bite nails.
6. Vet boyfriends/girlfriends.
7. Keep going to Thornwick with rest of the family.
8. Be strict with them.
9. Check their hair for nits.
10. Only one hour a day on computer.
11. Make sure Ella has her meningitis booster.
12. Don’t have iron too hot for shirts.
13. Don’t leave Ella in bath alone.
14. Don’t give them too many sweets.
15. Sunblock on hot days.
This, of course, wasn't the extent of the advice she gave Ian, but it's a list he's treasured, and now uses when caring for his five grandchildren.
"I miss Angie every day but I really did feel her absence during the birth of our grandchildren. She’d have loved hugging them, just as I do."
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