Geldof becomes fathers' champion

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The Independent Online
Plans by Bob Geldof to campaign on behalf of divorced fathers' rights to their children received backing from pro-family groups today.

The Live Aid hero said he hoped to make the issue his next big project, following his acrimonious divorce and the continuing dispute with his ex-wife, Paula Yates, over custody of their children.

The move was welcomed by the pressure group Families Need Fathers, which said the star was just one of many men now getting involved in the cause. Campaigners believe the law is loaded in favour of the wife in custody battles.

Geldof outlined his plans in an interview before he launched a custody battle for his three daughters. He fears that Yates could be planning to move the family to Australia to set up home with her boyfriend, INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

Geldof described his love for his children and the anguish created by the divorce. "Believe me, I love my three children more than anything in the world. I would do anything to protect them from harm. Without them I am nothing.

"I cannot describe the feeling a father has for his children. It is a crying shame that not enough emphasis and support is given to the dad when there is a marriage breakdown.

"My next big cause is bringing the rights of wronged fathers to public attention.

"I kid you not, this is now my big concern. Nothing else matters."

Peter Anderson, of Families Need Fathers, said he was delighted at Geldof's new crusade.

"The momentum is now rising behind our cause and has been for some time. It was the Child Support Agency that first brought our plight to the attention of the public," he said.

"Before that guys were being pushed out of homes and stopped from seeing their children. Then along came the CSA, who said not only can you not see your kids but you have got to pay for them as well."