"Today, is my son Matt's birthday (the big-hearted one on the extreme left of the photo). Technically he is my step son, but as most of his formative years between six and twenty five was spent living with me and his mother, I regard and love him as my son and on as equal a footing as my four blood children, James, Adam, William and Becky.
Indeed, it used to annoy me enormously whenever anyone referred to him in his youth as being, 'half-brother' to William and Becky (who have the same birth mum) and step-brother to James and Adam (born to my first marriage). If ever I heard any of my children refer to Matt in this way, I would quickly remind them that the Forde family is a wholesome entity and that we refuse to be intimidated, suffer injurious feelings to one of our own or be divided through the careless use of fractions.
While I have always regarded myself as a fatherly figure to Matt, I have always discouraged any notion or suggestion in his mind of downgrading his real father or having him airbrushed out of his life. Matt's dad is one of the nicest men I know and even though I never knew of him until three years after he and Matt's mum separated, I instantly liked him when we eventually met. I always told Matt not to call me 'dad' because to give to me was merely to take away from his real dad who is every bit as good a man as I am or ever will be. Hence Matt grew up, never confused about his identity, whilst forever feeling as though he had the benefit of two father figures.
Matt is giant-sized man who is now 39 years old. Matt is a gentle giant who is loved and greatly admired by most people who meet him. He may be the one without the degree behind his name and with the most humble of employment prospects from all my children, but he is the one of which I am most proud, because everything he has ever achieved has been attained through sheer guts and industrious effort. Happy birthday, Matt. I love you, Son. Bill xxx" William Forde: September 10th, 2013.