His own little girl had died - Tears as Northern Ireland mum meets man who bought cake for her daughter
A Northern Irish dad who paid for a child's birthday cake in memory of his baby daughter has met the family he helped for the first time.
Lea Ni Bhriain from Derrytrasna had launched an appeal to find a stranger who had paid for her niece's first birthday cake.
The mystery Dad had left a note explaining that his daughter had died when she was eight days old in 2018.
On Monday, Lea, her sister Shannon and Lea's niece Akeesha Rose appeared on This Morning, where they met Gareth Bronte and his wife Kirsty, from Banbridge, for the first time.
Shannon cried as she explained to Gareth how his 'random act of kindness' had touched her heart.
Gareth had left a card - signed 'Hannah's Daddy' - to explain why he he made the gesture.
"In the lead up to what would have been Hannah's birthday my wife and I wanted to do something to mark it," he said, speaking to the ITV programme.
"Our little boy came up with the idea of letting a balloon go. He thought it would make it's way up to heaven.
"I had said to Kirsty I wanted to do something different, just a random act of kindness."
Kirsty added: "He just mentioned it in passing, and I said, "I don't think so"."
Gareth went ahead with his plan despite his wife's hesitation.
"I just wanted to buy a cake and I thought it would be nice for someone.
"I asked at the bakery if there were any cakes, preferably a girl. They said it's a little girl's first birthday and I said that's perfect I'll pay for that."
Shannon and Lea arrived at Windsor Bakery, in Banbridge Co Down, to collect the Peppa Pig cake, they were given a card from Gareth and told the cake had been paid for.
It said: 'In honour of what would have been my little girl's 1st birthday, I have chosen to pay for your birthday cake. I am unable to buy my daughter a cake of her own today, but I hope you enjoy this one and have a fantastic birthday. God bless, Hannah's Daddy.'
Speaking on This Morning, Gareth said thinking of what to write was the hardest part.
"It was hard writing the card knowing I wasn't going to buy a birthday cake for my daughter again or walk her down the aisle. I signed it Hannah's daddy because I don't often get called that."
Lea later took to Facebook to track down whoever made the gesture for her niece.
Gareth said: "Later that day a friend Whatsapped me a picture of the post and said "That is you, isn't it". He outed me. Then we were found."
Lea told This Morning how Gareth's act of kindness inspired her to pay it forward and she spent the same amount on another child's first birthday cake.
Belfast Telegraph Digital