Dying mum’s 15 rules for raising kids
IAN Millthorpe was devastated when he lost his wife to cancer in 2010, leaving him to raise all eight of their children alone.
"Luckily she made it easier for me," Ian says, revealing a list of 15 parenting rules written by wife Angie days before she died.
Angie started making preparations for her husband's life as a single parent before her tragic death.
One morning, she surprised him by asking when their youngest son was born.
After a couple of wrong guesses, Angie sighed and said: "You've got to know the kids' birthday's Mill. What if you forget one?"
She fetched a notebook and jotted down the birthdays of their eight kids.
Ian said the dates were added to a longer list of parenting instructions, including pointers on hair care, ironing and playing out late.
Proud Ian now uses the same list to raise a new generation - his five grandchildren.
This year, Ian is celebrating Father's Day with his family's annual walk Thornwick Bay at Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, where they'll pay a visit to Angie's bench and share memories.
The couple had three sons - Ryan, 32, Damon 29, and Reece, 27 - before Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29.
Five years later, following the all-clear from doctors, they went on to have five more kids - Connor, 19, twins Jake and Jade, 15, Corey, 12, and Ella, 10.
The list of pointers:
1. Plait girls hair or it splits.
2. Must do homework before bed.
3. Must be in[side] one hour before dark.
4. Vet TV programs.
5. Don't let them bite nails.
6. Vet boyfriends/girlfriends.
7. Keep going to Thornwick with rest of the family.
8. Be strict with them.
9. Check their hair for nits.
10. Only one hour a day on computer.
11. Make sure Ella has her meningitis booster.
12. Don't have iron too hot for shirts.
13. Don't leave Ella in bath alone.
14. Don't give them too many sweets.
15. Sun block on hot days.
In 2008, Angie developed a persistent cough and was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
The news prompted her to start preparing Ian to manage the day-to-day duties of looking after the kids.
Angie's loving list has seen her children flourish.
"I miss Angie every day but I really did feel her absence during the birth of our grandchildren," Ian said. "She'd have loved hugging them, just as I do.
"The hardest thing I've had to deal with is my health. I just want to do right by Angie and my kids. I don't want to become a burden."
But Ian's kids couldn't be prouder of their hard working dad.
"He's been so great and supportive. It's because of him that I want to train as a social worker once I leave school. I want to make a difference to somebody's life," 16-year-old Jake said.
"He's amazing and makes the best chicken curry!" youngest Ella added.
"I'm very fortunate. I have a bunch of hardworking, caring kids," Ian said. "I'm really proud.
"I can never replace Angie - I don't want to - but I'm determined to do everything that I can to make her proud of our family. Luckily she has made it easier for me."