Thanks, Dad! Father's Day for modern families

Whether we have a biological father, we're adopted, fostered, or just have someone to look up to, that male role model has an immense influence.

'He's really kind and sweet, and we play football together'

Adelino Mauluka, 11, from Southampton, regards his maternal uncle Milton as a father-figure. His mother, Urginia, a photojournalist from Zimbabwe, was arrested by the Mugabe regime and came to Britain with her two children, Adelino and Katelyn. His father remained behind.

"I spend a lot of time with my uncles – I have three of them. I see them every holiday and most weekends, even now that I've moved from London to Southampton. My uncle Milton is the one I see the most. He's really nice and kind and sweet. We like to watch and play football together. My two other uncles are also really nice. I go to their house and I play with my cousins there. I support Manchester United and they support Arsenal, so we cheer for different teams."

'I'm really grateful for the inspiration he has given me'

Matthew Blanchett, 17, from Perth was fostered by Marco and his wife at the age of eight, but will leave their home for the first time this summer to go to college.

"I'm getting him a rock CD for Father's Day because this is the thing over which we've bonded the most. We listen to Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and the Sex Pistols. When I moved in with the family, I was eight and it was extremely hard to adjust because I had never had a male figure in my life. Now I would describe our relationship as pretty much perfect. He's really helpful and gives me advice on life and money. There are lots of other foster kids in the house as well as his son, and he cares for all of us the same. I'm nervous about moving out because I won't have his guidance. He's completely changed my life, and I'm really grateful for the inspiration he has given me."

'It's fun to have two dads as they let me do anything I want'

In 2006 Rhys, 10, and his brother Connor, 7, were adopted by David and Paul Long, who were the first same-sex couple in west Wales to apply for adoption.

"I've bought two cards for Father's Day. But I haven't written anything on them yet. I love to watch movies with my dads. It's fun to have two dads as they let me do anything I want, but sometimes they make me clean my room. I think we are going camping this summer. I've done it before. It's fun because you don't sleep a lot and don't go to school."

'Mick was laid back to the point of sleeping – it's always been a family joke'

Dame Kelly Holmes, 41, is a retired athlete. She was born to a Jamaican father and British mother. At the time of her birth, Dame Kelly's mother married Michael Norris, whom she regards as her father. In her autobiography she wrote:

"Mick gradually just became part of our lives. He was a painter and decorator, a slim, quiet guy with wide long sideburns that were in then. He was laid back to the point of sleeping – it's always been a family joke. I can picture him in his cowboy boots and a loud, patterned cowboy shirt singing 'Viva Espana' at the top of his voice. He took me on as if I was his own. I respect him so much for that and all that he has done for me."

'I hope I live up to his standards on not bearing grudges'

Mark Stibbe, 50, was adopted along with his twin sister Claire in 1960 by Philip Stibbe, a teacher, now deceased. Mark is the founder and leader of the Father's House, a Christian charity dedicated to supporting people who are fatherless.

"My father was a remarkable man. He studied English literature under CS Lewis, who dined fairly regularly with him. He was a Japanese prisoner of war for two and a half years, but was never bitter about it. I hope I live up to his standards on not bearing grudges. I remember he made us read a short story about a British soldier who forgave his Japanese oppressor. Dad was saying: 'Please don't grow up with racial prejudice.' At the end of his life, he got Parkinson's disease and lost his mobility. I still imagine him, standing before hundreds of people, when he was headmaster of Norwich School and talking to the kids he was releasing into the world."

'My granddad was also my father and my best friend'

Andy Uzzell, 42, from Chelmsford, Essex, works for the charity 4Children, supporting fathers with help in parenting matters. His grandfather – Don Uzzell – was his father figure after his father became absent in his life.

"My parents split up when I was six. My mum did a fantastic job working full time bringing us up, but as a lad you need male input – which is where my granddad came in. He was pretty much everything to me: he was my father, my grandfather and my best friend. The most valuable lesson Don ever taught me was once when he came over in the afternoon to cut our lawn. I'd always come home from school and make him a cup of tea. We used to sit there and talk about everything. And one day he just opened up and told me everything about his experiences in the Second World War. He had never mentioned it before. It's moments like that, when you look at someone and think differently of them."

'He's inspired me and taught me not to give up'

Darren Rowbotham, 37, from Hartlepool, was fostered by Ernie and his wife for six years from the age of 10 with his younger brother. Darren and Ernie remain close. Darren and his wife Julie are waiting approval to become foster carers themselves.

"I lived in children's homes for several years after my brother and I were put into care by our parents. It was supposedly short term, but it dragged on. When we finally moved to Ernie's place, Ernie gave us a routine and a bit of discipline that we really needed after those years in homes with lots of other kids. We still talk regularly and I went to visit him recently in hospital. I still see my biological father as well, but Ernie knows he is the person that I look up to the most. He is an intelligent person, and he always told me I could do anything, even when I thought I couldn't. He's inspired me throughout my whole life, and he's taught me never to give up."

'Dad wanted everything for his children that he never had'

Andrew Barton, 44, is a celebrity hairdresser who owns a salon in Covent Garden. He grew up in Barnsley with his adoptive parents. His father, Alan Barton, was a miner turned factory manager.

"We lost Dad many years ago, when I was 16, so we spent a lot of our childhood without our father. He managed to get himself out of the pits long before all the closures. He was a real provider as a father and wanted everything for his children that he had never had. Apart from his job as a full-time factory manager, he also drove a bus to make ends meet. I've taken Dad's work ethic – I'm a working-class bloke who's done very well for himself. I don't know what Dad would have felt about me becoming a hairdresser, though. He was a man's man, who liked the working men's clubs."

'I remember the smell of petrol on his hand as he ran it over my ear'

The comedian and author Rhona Cameron, 45, was born in Dundee and adopted as a baby by William and Jean Campbell. William died aged 55 in 1979 – a pivotal year for Ms Cameron, who later used the year as the title of her book.

"Losing my father has been the most significant loss of my life. I am very much a product of my father's influence and I was very much a 'daddy's girl'. He was a panel beater and mechanic. He was a union man, and very old fashioned. One of my most vivid memories of him was him coming home late when he finished his shift, and sitting on the edge of my bed stroking my head. I remember the smell of the petrol from his motorbike on his hand as he ran it over my ear and it used to remind me of the noises of the sea. It would make me go to sleep. That moment of tenderness for that short period of my life was probably the moment I've felt the most connected to anyone in my life."

'He's an amazing man, a walking encyclopedia'

Jackie Kay, the novelist and poet, 49, was born to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father but adopted as a baby by John and Helen Kay. She grew up in the Bishopbriggs, Glasgow.

"My dad was self-taught, left school at 14 and later trained as a draughtsman, but for most of my childhood he worked for the Communist Party. He was an industrial organiser so I remember going on marches. He's an amazing man, my dad. He's like a walking encyclopedia. He would think Father's Day was commercial rubbish though. I only started doing Father's Day recently. I sent him a card saying 'Life doesn't come with an instruction book, that's what fathers are for'."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
Life and Style
love + sex
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

    Recruitment Genius: 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Engineer - Managed Services Provider

    £30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Eng...

    Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

    Recruitment Genius: General Processor

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot