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Ahead of Father's Day tomorrow, Karen Ireland talks to two people who will be celebrating the day with their dads - and two people reflecting on fond memories

Daddy cool ... why we owe him so much

Motorcycle racer William Dunlop (32) lives in Ballymoney with his girlfriend Janine and their daughter Ella (2). They have another baby due in September. He followed his late father Robert Dunlop into road racing. He says:

My dad was my best friend. I spent all my time with him and we did everything together. Growing up I wasn't into bikes at all, I just wasn't interested in them, but I loved other sports, particularly football.

When dad wasn't racing or working with his bike he would have spent a lot of time with me and my brothers, Michael and Daniel. Dad and I loved to play snooker and pool and when I was living at home we would do that most evenings. When we got the chance, we would also play golf together.

Ironically I only really decided to give motorcycling a go when my uncle Joey was killed in a racing accident in Estonia in 2000. Everyone was talking about the tragedy and it just triggered something in me. It sounds strange now that it was his death that led me into racing, but basically I just wanted to try it out for myself.

Dad's sponsor at the time lent me a bike and I just gave it a go. I found I had real adrenaline rush. I loved it.

I decided to start practicing and racing on roads. Dad wasn't a very outspoken man and he didn't say a lot about my decision, but I think he was thrilled when first I decided to follow in his footsteps, and then my brother Michael did so as well.

Indeed, Michael and I were both racing at the NW200 in 2008 when dad had his fatal crash. My bike broke down in the practice lap about a mile behind the scene of his accident. I remember feeling completely shocked when I heard the news and we all rushed to the hospital.

The doctors told us dad had died and I just couldn't get my head around it as the NW200 had always seemed to me to be a safe course. I never expected anything would happen to any of us on that course.

Looking back, I was stunned at what had happened- we all were - but I was never sad for dad. Of course, I miss him very much but I also have to remember that he died doing what he loved and he had also enjoyed an amazing career out of it. It might seem strange to some people but when dad died I never once considered giving up racing. That just wasn't an option for me. My philosophy for life is that you should live how you want to and do what you want. After all, that's what my dad did.

If Janine and I have a son and he wants to go into racing like the rest of the family, then I would fully support it.

Dad had a good life and lived it to the full. That's all anyone wants.

Like I said, I miss him all the time and I miss having him to talk to if I am having problems - or if I want to borrow a few quid from my old man! I can't do that anymore.

Having said all of that, I've grown up a lot in the last 10 years since he died. When he was alive I was always with him, and dad did everything for me to do with the bike. After he died I didn't really know what to do and had to learn it all for myself. I also had to build up my own circle of friends, whom I spend a lot of time with now.

I had to withdraw from this year's NW 200 as I hurt my back and then I left the TT as Janine had a bit of a scare with the baby and I wanted to be back home with her for the scan. Thankfully everything is okay and they are both doing well.

Road racing is a dangerous sport and I accept that, but no one lives forever and I am dedicated to what I do. Right now, I am just waiting to talk to my sponsor to find out when my next race will be - and if I am going to race in the Ulster Grand Prix."

Celebrity chef Paula McIntyre (51), who was recently awarded an MBE, loves spending time with her beloved dad Davy, who is in his 70s. She says:

I am very fortunate to still have both my parents. They live in Aghadowey - dad was a headmaster and mum was a headmistress of a small primary school. I have a brother David as well and we have always been a close family. They were all delighted last week when I received the MBE for services to cooking.

One of my fondest memories of growing up was spending time as a family. My mum would cook and we would all sit down and enjoy each other's company and have conversation over dinner. In many ways, I think this is a lost art these days. Families are so busy in today's society they don't sit down and catch up with each other. As a chef this saddens me as I think it is so important for families to spend time together - children benefit so much from that.

My work means that I'm travelling a lot these days but my parents live close by and I make sure that I catch up with them as often as.

My dad and I have always had a good relationship; we share the same sense of humour and have always been able to have a laugh together.

I don't think I was a particularly easy teenager, I was a bit of a rebel, so I can't have been easy for my parents. I still have a bit of that streak in me and like to do things my own way.

Working in the teaching profession, my parents both had safe and secure jobs. However, I wanted to go into cooking and become a chef - long before it was trendy. I'm sure my parents worried about me going into what was such an unknown field to them but they were always supportive of everything I wanted to do.

I remember dad was always behind me and we would have talked things through. He knew that I was determined and ambitious and I think he is proud of me and the path that I chose.

Dad and I share a lot of similar interests. For example, he taught me to fish, which is something I still enjoy doing when I get the opportunity. He was very sporty when we were younger and big into his sport.

I've been working all this week in London, so I am looking forward to getting home and spending Father's Day with dad. I will cook for my parents as a rare and special treat. This is something I feel I don't get to do often enough as I am so busy.

Nowadays we also enjoy going out for meals, relaxing and chatting over a glass of wine and some good food.

And when I go to the palace to receive my MBE mum and dad will be by my side. They are very excited about it and it will be a very proud day."

Professional boxer Paddy Barnes (29), OBE, is married to Mari (27) and they have two girls, Eireann (4) and Sianna (1). He reveals that he owes his professional career to his dad Patrick (55). He says:

I am in Glasgow at the minute training ahead of my next fight in Belfast in August but I am really looking forward to Father's Day as I'm coming home and will see my family as well as having a round of golf with my dad.

My dad is my biggest supporter. There was never anyone in the family who boxed before me but when I took it up at the age of 11 my dad and mum, Ellen, couldn't have been more supportive.

Essentially my dad became my taxi driver for years. He drove me to Ardglass every week for training, as well as to different clubs around Northern Ireland.

We have always been very close and I enjoy spending time with my dad. He has never missed one of my fights and I always make sure that he and my mum have good seats. I don't think they worry about me. They trust me and they trust my instincts.

My mum loves boxing, too, and always comes along to every fight. They both believe in me. They even made it along to the Olympics when I fought in Rio, Beijing and London.

My parents had to remortgage the house to travel with me, but they did it because they wanted to support me and be there to watch me.

I think dad was excited and proud when I took up boxing professionally. It was the next logical step for me to do. He has always been supportive and its thanks to his help when I was getting started that I have the career I have today."

Lisa Flavelle (46), from Belfast, is station director of Belfast 89FM and has a son and a daughter, Ben (21) and Rose (11). This is her first Father's Day without her dad, musician Jackie. She says:

My dad died in September so this is my first Father's Day without him. Like all the 'firsts' such as Christmas and birthdays, it will be a difficult day as we all miss him so much.

It was around this time last year when dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer and he was only ill for three months before he died. Right up until he took ill he was still gigging and travelling the world with the Chris Barber Band.

Dad never believed in retirement or getting old. He wouldn't even go for the flu jab at the same time as everyone else as he didn't want to 'catch old' as he would say.

He believed in doing what he loved for as long as he could and that's exactly what he did. He taught us all to live life to the full.

My mum Noreen died 10 years ago. It was very sudden and my daughter Rose was only six weeks old at the time. Mum was just 62 years old and it was a huge shock. After she died I spent as much time with dad as possible although he was away travelling a lot.

When he took ill I spent a lot of time with him and we shared a lot over those last few months.

Dad always wanted to be around young people and to listen to modern music. That kept him young. Growing up I was like dad's shadow.

When he worked as a salesman I would have travelled on the road with him during my summer holidays. And when he worked at Downtown Radio I was with him all the time. I was in there organising the records and making the tea. That's where I caught the bug for radio and it has stayed with me ever since.

I miss dad every day. We shared so much, particularly a love of music which has been passed on to Ben who plays in several bands. He misses dad very much and I know that dad would be so proud that he is carrying on that passion for music and performing in the family

Dad had a love of broadcasting and a wicked sense of humour which I miss. In the Sixties, he was in all the big showbands and he and mum moved to London. They were mixing and partying with all the big stars such as Jimi Hendrix.

My parents decided to move home after my sister Melanie was born.

My earliest memories of dad are of watching him on stage. I was mesmerised.

I think I am a lot like dad. He was very easy going and he was also fortunate to love what he did for a living.

Dad always believed you need a reason to get out of bed in the morning and that is very true. For him age was a state of mind.

I'm not sure how I will spend Father's Day without dad, though I know he would want me to be happy and to focus on my kids.

Happily, my sister Melanie is having a new baby this year so it is good to have something positive to focus on after such a difficult 12 months."

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