7 Aug

One of my earliest memories is of swimming on my Dad’s back in the pool in Takoradi in Ghana.

I remember his freckles, sandy hair and the feel of his big muscles under my four year old hands.

My dad was an accomplished swimmer and a great diver, he could water ski and he played water polo too.


One day my mam, little brother Tim and I were sitting on the beach in Takoradi, Ghana. Mam noticed a chap some way out to sea waving and calling for help. The man’s family was nearby so she went over and said “I think your husband is in trouble”

His wife said “I know, but I don’t want to upset the children”

Mam said something very rude in Dutch and strode down the beach to the water polo team where my Dad was having a beer and she raised the alarm.

A huge posse of super fit young swimmers, with characteristic ‘V’ shaped backs, leapt into the surf to help the stricken man.

They all ended up having to rescue each other because of a rip tide which had trapped the man in a huge trough between two big waves just beyond the reef.

But not my Dad. He swam all the way up the beach and back down the wave trough, grabbed the guy and swam all the way back up the trough and back round the other side, with the bloke holding on to his back. They were absolutely exhausted.

He saved this man’s life.

He saved mine when I was in hospital having been diagnosed with manic depression way back in 2001, with the immortal words:

“Steady on son”

He’s always had my back, thanks Dad.

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