Awards surprise for most fantastic father

Wiltshire Times: Alex and Rachel Fereday with son Ethan, after battling through snow to the Big Heart awards in London Alex and Rachel Fereday with son Ethan, after battling through snow to the Big Heart awards in London

DAD Alex Fereday has been crowned a fantastic father in the national Big Heart awards.

He looked after poorly wife Rachel and their baby while still working full-time after a difficult delivery left Mrs Fereday unable to walk for several weeks.

Mrs Fereday, 33, said the umbilical cord became entwined around baby Ethan’s neck and she was rushed into surgery when his heart rate dropped.

He became lodged in the birth canal and had to be delivered using forceps.

Mr Fereday, of Argyle Drive in Chippenham, took paternity leave from his job at Leafield Logistics in Corsham, then cut his hours to part-time so his wife – a partner at Awdrey Bailey and Douglas Solicitors in Devizes – could return to her career.

Mrs Fereday nominated her husband for the Big Heart award without telling him.

She said: “Alex has always been supportive, right from the start. My stomach muscles were badly split and I could barely walk or sit down for three weeks. Alex waited on me hand and foot.

“Ethan had colic and was screaming every night and Alex got up, even though he had to get up for work the next day.”

Mr Fereday, 35, found himself a bit of a novelty as the only man attending a mums and babies group.

His wife said: “He took Ethan to Spring Rise children’s centre in Frogwell. It was quite awkward, him being the only man there, but he didn’t mind.”

Mr Fereday said: “It was just me and about 20 women. It was a bit strange when they were all talking about breast feeding. I didn’t have first-hand knowledge, but I joined in anyway.

“It was when they were breastfeeding that was the more awkward part.”

The first thing the mine manager knew of the Mother and Baby magazine award was when he won it.

He said: “I thought Rachel was joking. I was very chuffed. It didn’t bother me in the slightest, staying home. It’s nice being with him and we’ve got a really good bond now.”

Ethan is now 14 months old and going to Tumble Tots with his father at St Paul’s Church every week.

Selected by the Bliss charity’s judges, they had a five-hour drive through snow to pick up the award from TV presenter Jenni Falconer at the London Hilton.

Mr Fereday said: “We got there five minutes after it was supposed to start, but there was no way I was going to miss it. It’s the best achievement ever.”

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