Monday, 13 June 2016

52 Days of Dad

Father’s Day draws nigh (it's next Saturday, folks!) and Young Dads Collective (the charity that works to reduce levels of poverty and isolation experienced by young dads) is launching its 52DaysofDad campaign.

The aim is to raise awareness of young dads (those aged 25 and under) who are among the most isolated and economically deprived parenting groups in the UK. To do this they're hoping to reach a wider audience by celebrating dads of all ages who love spending quality time with their children.

They've compiled an exciting pack of 52 free and fun activities to do with children - one for every week of the year so the adventures will never stop! Activities range from having a picnic, building a blanket fort, dressing up, baking a cake and trying out new fruits and vegetables. But the activity that appealed especially to us was looking at old photos and talking about them.

We spent half-term in France and Charlie and Eloise came with me on a tour of the Somme battlefields. While Eloise is still a little young to appreciate events, I'm keen that Charlie understands and (in spite of the weather) he took a real interest. So when we got home I showed him this...

There, at the bottom of the middle column is the only photo the family has of Great Uncle Will - inspiration (in part) for my latest novel The Glorious Dead - who fought and died on the Western Front.

The feature - from the Daily Mirror of November 1917 - reports the award of a bar to the DSM (Distinguished Service Medal) that Uncle Will won earlier in the war. (He also won the Military Medal and was clearly a brave soldier.)

Uncle Will died of wounds on May 19th 1918 and is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery. Charlie was very keen to visit the grave. Unfortunately, there wasn't time on this occasion but we'll certainly make sure we stop by next time we're in France.

Until then, there are his medals, as well as wonderful, fragile embroidered postcards sent back from the Front, and photos of the cemetery and of his grave.

And there are the wonderful conversations, questions and investigations they provoke. With Charlie, so often, one thing leads to another and he is soon brimming with ideas and comments as well as questions and observations.

Just one of our #52DaysofDad...

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