Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Life Features

Belfast dad and film-maker daughter share the special relationships in their lives

We ask personalities about the special family relationships in their lives

By Lee Henry

Published 11/11/2015

Daddy’s girl: Beth and Tony Macaulay
Daddy’s girl: Beth and Tony Macaulay

Veteran peace campaigner Tony Macaulay, from the Shankill area of Belfast, is author of the popular memoirs Paperboy, Breadboy and All Growed Up. He has two daughters with wife Lesley - Beth (21), a freelance film-maker, and Hope (19).

My dad was always the fun dad. He would take me to lots of different places as a child. Every year on holiday, for example, I wanted to visit an aquarium, so we have visited countless aquariums around the world together.

I wasn't the stereotypical teenager who rebelled. I did have the odd teenage strop, but I was a hard worker at school. I was very motivated to do my best. This trait definitely came from my parents.

I grew up with Doctor Who. As a child, dad would play the old black and white episodes and teach me all about the different monsters and planets.

When the show returned in 2005, everyone in my class started to talk about this 'new TV show' and I was able to tell them that Doctor Who had actually been around since 1963.

I am proud of dad for following his childhood dream of wanting to write.

Every time I'm near a bookstore, I make it my mission to find his books and push them to the front of the bookshelf. I was recently working with a film crew in Londonderry and, on my break, I went into a bookshop and proudly showed my workmates where my dad's books were sitting.

I share my dad's love for travel. I went to Edinburgh with him recently, as he was reading at the Edinburgh Book Fringe, and also travelled to America, where he spoke at Camp Friedenswald, Michigan and Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. This encouraged me a few years later to return to America and volunteer as summer staff at Camp Friedenswald.

I'm sure by now you can guess, but working on Doctor Who is my biggest ambition, either in the directing or camera department.

And I hope that one of my dad's books gets the opportunity to be made into a film, as then we could contribute to it together.

Name: Beth Macaulay

Age: 21

Occupation: Freelance film-maker

Relationship to Tony: Daughter

The day that Beth was born was the happiest day of my life. It was a few days before Christmas and I remember feeling thankful for the most precious Christmas gift I had ever received.

When I held her in my hands in the first few seconds of her life, I felt a deeper love than I had ever experienced before. I also felt a huge responsibility to keep her safe and to be the best father I could be.

Beth had blonde curly hair and a gentle, sweet personality as a girl. She was almost perfect - between tantrums. She was shy and a little unsure of herself at times, so it's been wonderful to watch her grow into a sociable, level-headed and confident young woman.

When she was a baby, we lived in Antrim. We moved to Magherafelt when she was two years old and then to Portstewart when she was 11. Beth found this move really hard as she didn't want to leave her friends behind. I felt guilty for uprooting the children, but they're grateful today, as the north coast has been a great place to grow up.

Beth never had the experience of having to go without, and thankfully she hasn't experienced the fear and heartache of growing up in the midst of a bitter sectarian conflict.

She attended integrated schools from the age of four to 18 and, as a result, the old prejudices that I grew up with are completely absent in her. She has friends of all backgrounds and a lovely respect and appreciation for people who are different.

When Beth and Hope were younger, there was the usual sibling rivalry and I had to do a fair amount of peace building in my own house.

But at ages eight and 11, they became very close.

Hope now has her own fashion channel on YouTube and Beth has filmed some of the videos. She made a film about Hope entitled 'Portrait of a YouTuber', which won a slot on BBC3 Fresh.

Initially, Beth was pretty nonplussed about my writing. She would say, 'It's just dad going on about the olden days again'. Now, though, she comes to some of my book readings and has been with me on a few trips. She even made a film about my writing entitled 'The Books of a Belfast Boy'.

My latest book, 'All Growed Up', includes the story of how I fell in love with 'lovely Lesley from up the country'. When the book was published, I gave Beth a signed copy with the message 'How I Met Your Mother'.

She hasn't read the book yet. I think she fears the details might make her queasy.

Name: Tony Macaulay

Age: 52

Occupation: Author and peace campaigner Relationship to Beth: Father

The write stuff... a life recalled

■ Tony Macaulay published his first memoir, the acclaimed Paperboy, in 2012, with Blackstaff Press; also Breadboy (2013) and All Growed Up (2014)

■ He is writing a fourth memoir, but currently works as principal consultant with TOWARD, a leadership and team development consultancy, and presents Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Ulster and Prayer for the Day on BBC Radio 4

■ Beth worked on the crew of Property of the State, filmed by Shackleton Studios in Ballykelly, and is a freelance videographer/editor

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph