Winner James is daddy of ’em all!
WHEN it comes to being a father figure, James Toal is the daddy of them all.
He gave up work to look after his daughter, Emily, now six and become her main carer after she was born with Down’s Syndrome and a hole in her heart.
Now 33-year-old James has won Cardwell Garden Centre Father’s Day Contest after being nominated by his Greenock policewoman wife, Hazel.
The garden centre, near Gourock, had asked people to nominate dads on their Facebook Page for a prize of a slap-up meal for four in its Patio Restaurant along with a hamper of goodies.
Hazel told how James volunteered to give up his job in the security industry to become Emily’s main carer, give her the physiotherapy she needed along with speech and language therapy.
Along with Hazel, he also played a big role, in looking after Emily after she had to go through two major heart operations – one when she was only 11 weeks old and the second when she was two years old. Then in 2015 Emily had a stroke, which she has now fully-recovered from.
Hazel, 45, said: “James really is an amazing dad and step-dad. After my maternity leave when Emily was born, we thought we would be more comfortable if one of us became Emily’s main carer, especially in the early stages when her health was so fragile.
“James said he would give up his work to look after Emily full time. He is phenomenal with Emily and her developmental milestones have been reached a lot earlier than expected thanks to James.
“It’s all down to how much effort and emotion James has put into looking after her.
“He’s really patient with Emily and she just adores him – she’s a complete daddy’s girl.
“As well as looking after Emily, James is also dad to my oldest son, Lewis and is devoted to his own son, Calum. He’s just an amazing daddy.”
James said: “I had no idea Hazel had nominated me for the Father’s Day contest and I only found out when she told me I had won.
“It’s fantastic that I’ve won, but there are millions of great dads out there and lots of people who found themselves in our position would have done the same.
“I just felt it was the right thing to do and I’ve loved every minute of being Emily’s main carer.”
Cardwell Garden Centre retail manager, Paul Carmichael said: “We had a great response to our Father’s Day contest and there were lots of worthy winners.
“But James had made a real sacrifice by giving up his job to look after Emily and become her main carer.
“When they’re together, you can see there’s an incredible bond between them.”
James and his family visited Cardwell at the weekend for a slap-up lunch in our Patio Restaurant and to receive his hamper of Father’s Day goodies.
Daddy’s Girl – James Toal gets a hug from his daughter, Emily at Cardwell Garden Centre
Happy family – James and Hazel Toal and Emily with their sons, Calum and Lewis, behind, at Cardwell Garden Centre.