Gallery: Father’s Day is extra special for Jodie Harrington and dad Tony, who she claims made her the woman she is now
Justin Marchant Photography
Tony Harrington was forced to take on the role of both mum and dad when his wife died suddenly just 16 days after the birth of their baby daughter.
And 27 years on, proud daughter Jodie has hailed her dad for being the best parent she could have asked for and has a series of treats lined up for Father’s Day to show her gratitude.
“You get all these men who say they can’t do things but they can, my dad is living proof of that,” said the former Copleston High School pupil, who now lives in Trimley St Martin.
“My dad made me the woman I am.”
Jodie’s mum Narina developed a blood clot in her leg in the days after her daughter was born, although doctor’s were unable to establish if it was linked to the birth.
“It might have been because she wasn’t moving around as much, but they don’t know,” said Jodie.
The blood clot caused a heart attack and Narina Harrington died, leaving her husband to care for their newborn baby.
“It all happened so quickly,” said Jodie, now 27. ”I was born on December 3, my mum died on December 19 and her funeral was on December 24.
“Dad says that time was a bit of a blur for him but he threw himself in at the deep end, and managed to juggle everything.
“He had this little baby to look after but he still went out to work so he could provide for both himself and me and he still managed to put dinner on the table in the evenings.”
Tony, who works in the finance department at Ipswich Hospital, instilled a true sense of pride into his daughter, who is now a mum herself.
“You get all these men who say they can’t do things but they can, my dad is living proof of that,” said Jodie, who grew up in Ipswich and went to Copleston High School.
“I have had set backs but I have always worked, and that is because of my dad, he has such a strong work ethic.”
This week Jodie sent her dad a Father’s Day message via our website, she wrote: “My dad is so special to me because he has brought me up on his own since I was 16 days old and made me into the woman I am now. Always there to help me and supports me through any decision I make.”
She added: “I know I don’t tell you enough how much I appreciate everything you do for me, thank you.”
Having her own daughter has given Jodie an even greater understanding of how tough those early years must have been for her dad.
“When I tell him what Emily has been upto he says ‘oh they all do that, you did it once too’.
“She is 21 months now and has started having tantrums, it makes me think ‘how did my dad deal with that?’ And how did he cope with me waking up through the night then go and do a full days work without having a break down?”
The pair have always had a unique bond and although Jodie now lives in Trimley St Martin they remain extremely close.
“It was only ever us two, I was an only child and sadly dad has never met anyone else, he was always too busy looking after me.
“I would never leave his side when I was younger, if he dropped me at nursery I would cling to his leg because I didn’t want him to leave. And now I ring him most days to make sure he is okay,” said Jodie, a healthcare advisor for the NHS 111 service.
“I probably talk to him about a lot more than other girls would with their dads. I guess when I was a teenager he was probably quite embarrassed at the things I had to tell him.”
See today’s Ipswich Star for eight pages of Father’s Day messages.