After an impressive volume of votes, along with some truly heart-warming tales regarding exceptional fathers, the task in selecting a final five was not an easy one. However, our panel had to pick five finalists, and the following entries have been lucky enough to make the public vote. The final five will now compete for your votes to be crowned iCandy Father of the Year 2016.
Without further delay, and in no particular order, please read below the stories behind the fathers who have made our final five, in the words of their nominees…
Nominated by Rhian Tippett
“My partner has helped me during the most difficult time of my life whilst I battled Postnatal depression and then further after miscarrying earlier in the year. He helps with feeds, takes over wherever he can, and makes a mean roast dinner. I suffered with anxiety and pnd after the birth of my beautiful daughter in February. My body image, the overwhelming journey, the magnitude of what had happened. Terry picked me up and wiped my tears. He slept in an armchair for 5 days in hospital by my side. He slept on the floor of the nursery on the night we got home. He tells me I'm beautiful. He has been my rock. He's wiped my tears, he's made me laugh and smile again and he's loved me. Through the breakdowns and the sleepless nights, the nappy explosions and the weaning. He's made me love myself again. And he makes our baby girl laugh so much. So much it's amazing. He's amazing.”
Nominated by Charlene McConnachie
“I was taken in to hospital 4 days before the birth of our first son Connor, I was found to be suffering from pre eclampsia and was induced the next morning, 3 days later I gave birth to our son by emergency c-section after the trace of his heart rate vanished. For days afterwards I felt absolutely shattered but didn't think anything of it as everyone said I would be tired after having a baby so I thought it was normal, Stephen visited all day everyday then would take washing home and bring fresh clothes back in. He would be waiting to get in first thing in the morning and the last proud new daddy to be kicked out at night. A few days later I was drowning in the fluid, gasping for breath, Stephen cuddled Connor as the docs worked on me. Stephen held my hand as we were given the diagnosis, I told him he could leave me if he wanted as we were told there was a very high chance I would never have anymore children as it would probably prove fatal. Stephen slept on a camp bed next to mine so he could care for our newborn son, he was a tower of strength, he bathed him, changed him, cuddled him and held him to my breast so I could feed him. That's why he held me and sobbed with me when I was told I needed cardiac meds, which could cross over the milk to baby, I had to take the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding my baby, Stephen was my rock, he held me tight as we gave Connor his first bottle. We looked at each other with tears rolling down our faces, we had this perfect beautiful baby in front of us who we were so very thankful for, especially after 4 years of trying for him and visiting fertility specialists before we even got pregnant. Stephen continued to take on the main career role to our little boy, his boss gave him extended leave from work. I eventually got home, poor Stephen was shattered looking after myself and Connor but he plodded on, making bottles, changing baby, sorting out my meds and making sure I took them at the right times. He's been an emotional and physical tower of strength, the most amazing daddy ever Our family is now complete after our second son Lewis arrived last November, he was born a month prematurely after his movements were reduced but after a few nights in incubator he was fine and back up on the ward with me, I am now non-symptomatic and I know if needed Stephen will give me and the children the support to get through anything which we may face.”
Alexander Jude Patrick
Nominated by Elaine Patrick
“Jude and I met and married and he instantly became stepdad to five children. We then had five of our own, but in the last year my 16 year old was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Jude gave up his plans to set up his own business and stayed at home with our other children. He cooked, cleaned, looked after all the children's needs (the youngest is only 1) so I could stay in hospital with my son 60 miles away. Many would say it's a dad's job, which it is but he also had three other children with medical needs to look after whilst I looked after my son. He's done this through every chemo session and for a month whilst I was away. It's hard work running a household with so many people, but he did it!! He also helps my son at home. He is Superdad!”
Nominated by Krisina Jagpal
"Eli has been my fiance for the past 5 years, we have been trying for a family as we have lost 5 children and recently in April we lost our daughter ahrielle to still birth. Throughout the whole process he has been an amazing father, I guess when people think of a father they think of a man who has children alive or who has had children alive, but he is a great father regardless. During the whole process he has been so supportive and has done alot of charity work to help other babies who have been poorly on neonatal wards in Birmingham. He has given back to help parents as he knows the pain, the feeling of losing or trying so hard to have a dream come true of being a father to a baby he can play and talk to. He has been my rock and keeps me so strong. Recently he bought a tv for the neonatal unit to help parents take their mind off things for a while, and we also walked on fire to raise money to help tiny babies. He helps in anyway possible and is always looking to what else he can do. He is always helping and supporting me and other parents whilst going through so much himself. He really is a true role model, a man who puts others before himself, a man I call a father to all of our children who are sadly not here. I am currently pregnant with our 6th baby, a son who is due 2nd of February, I am in hospital everyday and he is there no matter what time or day, always being positive and encouraging me. This time we hope to have a healthy baby who I know will be an amazing gift to him as a father."
Nominated by Melissa Connor
"Paul has always been a great a father, I had a bad pregnancy with pre eclampsia and ended up induced. Our daughter was delivered by forceps and we found that she wasn't breathing. She was born on 21st Aug and his Mam passed away on 27th November. She had cancer. He was extremely close to his Mam and he still struggles with it. But now I'm back at work he has Layla when I work on his 2 days off. His hobbies of fishing and football don't happen much at all now. Then in April he lost did Grandad, despite all of this he continues to be a great father and an example to the household, he truly is one in a million."
Any one of the final five, along with many of the other entrants are worthy of being proclaimed the iCandy Father of the Year for 2016. As such, the four runners up will all receive an iCandy changing bag of their choice, whilst the winner will take home the innovative iCandy MiChair, and the Father of the Year Award for 2016. Please vote for the person you believe to be the iCandy Father of Year, and encourage friends and family of the nominees to get involved and help secure the title. In order to vote, please select your winning father from the candidates below.