"Today is my son Matt's 42nd birthday. He is the oldest and the biggest; the gentle giant of the family. Of all my children, each of whom I am proud of in their own special way, I will always retain a special sense of pride for our Matt.
Matt came into my life at the age of four when I met and married his mother. His start in life could not have been harder and he always needed to struggle to keep pace with other children his own age because of a certain awkwardness of limb movement and slowness in thought process.
We kept Matt on at Secondary School one year longer, as we realised that he was never going to crack any academic pots when it came to acquiring qualifications and that holding down any job could prove problematic. Matt tried as hard as he could during this extra school year and we were proud when he achieved a school award as the pupil who'd displayed the most consistent and studious effort. At the age of 17 years, Matt went to the Huddersfield Polytechnic with another son of mine to do a City and Guilds Certificate. The course was a 12 month one. My other son passed his certificate and Matt didn't. We allowed Matt another chance to sit it and enrolled him on the same course a second year. This time, Matt passed his City and Guilds.
Throughout these years, My other four children academically progressed to enter university. Matt genuinely rejoiced as all four of them obtained their degrees and went on to secure professional and well paid jobs. Not once has he ever displayed the least sign of envy or resentment.
For the past twenty four years, Matt has always held down a full time job in a food process factory. Today, he lives in his own mortgaged house in Mirfield, and though, like many folk on limited weekly income, he struggles to financially survive, he does manage to do all those things we once thought would not be possible for him to ever do.
During the past 38 years since he first came into my life, Matt has never once failed to forget me with either a card or a present on my birthday and Christmas. Indeed, I can guarantee that the very first Father's Day card through the door every year is from our Matt. His father is a good man with whom I have always had a good relationship since first we met, and we have been known to get together from time to time, if needs be, when Matt has required extra assistance for one thing or another to keep on course. Matt also gets love and continuous support from his mother. It pleases me immensely that my other children love Matt to bits and have never sought to distance or distinguish him from the family's affection through the fractious means of thinking or referring to him as being a 'half brother' or 'step brother.'
All of my children are special to me, but Matt will always be my most 'special' son. His industrious character, his sheer guts never to give up or give in, whatever the odds, his gentle nature, his generosity of spirit and kindest of ways endows him with a 'specialness' which is not often seen in human form. He is a six footer whose goodness towers above most he stands alongside. He is my son, Matt; he is to the family, 'our Matt' and we all love him dearly. Happy birthday, Son. Bill xxx" William Forde: September 10th, 2016.