"Today is my son Matthew's 40th birthday. In the picture of me and my children and grandchildren at my wedding to Sheila, Matthew is the one on the extreme left wearing spactacles. To be precise he is my step son, but as he grew up with me and his mother from the age of three years I have always regarded him as a son. I suppose that the best way to look at Matthew is to consider that he has two dads; both of whom are good men who love him dearly.
I know that he took the divorce of me and his mother harder than he let on after our 28-year-long marriage ended, but I am so pleased that we still regard each other as 'father and son'. My children have always considered Matthew as their brother which pleases me greatly.
I once recall the only 'step family' hiccup we were to experience during the early years of my marriage to his mother when one of my other sons described Matthew as being their 'half brother'. I quickly stomped that suggestion out when I told them that I would allow no division of the Forde family unit by the use of fractions and that terms such as 'step' and 'half' were not recognised by me as repesenting heathy descriptions with which to foster brotherly love and good family reationships.
From all my children, Matthew was the only one not to receive a university education. He has always been a slow to steady learner at best and someone who was always destined to hold down a labourer's or semi skilled person's job. Nevertheless, he has in the main always been in work since he left school. For the past fifteen years he has lived a wholly independent life style and has his own mortgaged terraced property in Mirfield. Not content to live off the State like many a person who is more accademically qualified or physically able than he is, for the past two years after having being made redundant, Matthew has travelled 25 miles daily on his bike to and from his place of employment in Barnsley. His industriousness and gentle ways in all things will always ensure that he holds a place in my heart and the hearts of anyone who stands close to him. Of all my children, he generates the greatest parental pride in me.
Matthew is one of the most likeable persons that one could hope to meet and is also one of the most generous of humans. He is so compassionate that he would give a tramp his last pound before buying food for himslf if need be. Some consider him to be somewhat gullible to the demands of others, but I know him as the gentle giant with a big heart of gold who cannot bear to see another in want or pain. Never once since the age of three has he forgotten to send me a card or seek me out on birthdays, Father's day and Christmas. He is the very best of sons that one could ever have and I love him dearly. Happy 40th birthday Matthew". Dad Forde: September 10th, 2014.