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Dad raising eight kids alone reveals late wife's 15-point list of rules left for them

Mirror logo Mirror 17/06/2018 Olive Loveridge-Greene

a group of people sitting posing for the camera: Ian Milthorpe (front centre), 56, with his eight children Ryan (top right), 32, Damon (top middle), 29, Rhys (top left), 27, Connor (far left), 19, Jake (front left) and Jade (front right), both 15, Cory (centre left), 12 and Ella (centre right), 11 © SWNS.com Ian Milthorpe (front centre), 56, with his eight children Ryan (top right), 32, Damon (top middle), 29, Rhys (top left), 27, Connor (far left), 19, Jake (front left) and Jade (front right), both 15, Cory (centre left), 12 and Ella (centre right), 11 Loving dad Ian Millthorpe plays it by the rules when it comes to raising his eight kids... with spectacular results.

A 15-point plan written by wife Angie has guided him since she died in 2010.

He has carefully plaited hair, ironed shirts, made sure the kids are in before dark – and vetted boyfriends and girlfriends.

Proud Ian is now using the same rules to raise a new generation – his five grandchildren.

The plan written by wife Angie (Image: NB Press) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The plan written by wife Angie (Image: NB Press) His loving and caring offspring have done him and Angie proud. And, fittingly, the clan will gather round him today to say a special thank you on Father’s Day.

Former miner Ian, 56, lost childhood sweetheart Angie to cancer. Days before she died at 48, she compiled a list of parenting essentials for Ian and the instructions – shown right – inspired the bestselling book called Mum’s Way. Today Ian and the family will walk along the Yorkshire coast, with Angie in their thoughts.

a person posing for the camera: Ian and Angie Milthorpe © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Ian and Angie Milthorpe He said: “We’re going to do our annual walk across Thornwick Bay at Flamborough Head, where we’ll pay a visit to Angie’s bench, lay flowers and share memories.

“We used to lay in that spot as teenagers looking over the bay, so it’s a perfect way to keep her involved. When we used to do the walk with Angie, she’d cook a medium rare steak back at home, with chips, onion rings, mushrooms and a sliced tomato.

“This year I’ll order that from a pub, where I’ll unwrap presents from the kids. My older sons get me Joop or Hugo Boss aftershave as a nod to Angie, as she’d always got me that from them.

a small child sitting on a couch: Ian with his five grandchildren (left to right) Isaac, 7, Warren, 11, Willow, 1, Kohen, 17 weeks and Jackson, 3 © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Ian with his five grandchildren (left to right) Isaac, 7, Warren, 11, Willow, 1, Kohen, 17 weeks and Jackson, 3 “Ella usually gets me chocolates in spite of rule 14 – ‘Don’t give them too many sweets’. She’s found a loophole!” Ian and Angie married in 1985 after falling in love at 14 when they met in the park in Grimethorpe, South Yorks.

They had three sons – Ryan, 32, Damon, 29, and Reece, 27 – before Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29.

Five years later, after the all-clear, they went on to have five more kids – Connor, 19, twins Jake and Jade, 15, Corey, 12, and Ella, 10. But in 2008, non-smoker Angie developed a persistent cough and doctors found incurable cancer in her lung.

It prompted her to write the tear-stained set of rules which Ian swears by. The pointers also cover bedtime rituals, how much screen time the kids get, and a reminder to use sunblock.

Now mum’s pearls of wisdom are being passed on to Ian’s grandkids – Ryan’s son Issak, seven, Damon’s two sons Warren, 11, and Cohen, 17 weeks, and Reece’s son Jaxon, three, and daughter Willow, one.

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Ian and Angie Milthorpe © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Ian and Angie Milthorpe And Ian says he is just as strict with the grandkids. They get just one hour computer time and are indoors before dark to enjoy dinner together. And Ian brings out Angie’s note when necessary to remind his brood about what Mum would have wanted. Another rule – number 16 – was scribbled out and, on reflection, Ian believes it was a reminder from Angie to look after himself.

He goes on: “I miss Angie every day but I really did feel her absence during the birth of our grandchildren. She’d have loved hugging them, just as I do.”

His hard work enforcing Angie’s list really has seen the kids flourish. Ella was just three when her mum died, but is set to leave primary school with a 100 per cent attendance record. Ian ­recalled her first nativity play and said it was particularly difficult.

a person holding a baby: Angie Milthorpe with one of the kids © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Angie Milthorpe with one of the kids He said: “As I sat down a ­teacher said ‘Mr Millthorpe, you are in for a real treat’. Then Ella sang a solo number. I could see the parents turning to look at me. I was almost in tears and I kept looking up wishing Angie could see her too.”

Twins Jake and Jade, 15, are studying for their GCSEs, Corey, 12, is doing well at secondary school and Ella, now 10, will join him in September. Connor is learning joinery and plastering at ­college. Eldest son Ryan, a warehouse worker, is a few streets away while brickie Damon and window fitter Reece live on the same road as Ian.

But the hands-on dad has his own health battles. Having survived a brain haemorrhage in 2004, Ian has chronic lung disease and has trouble breathing after over 20 years as a miner.

He said: “The hardest thing I’ve had to deal with is my health. I just want to do right by Angie and my kids. I don’t want to become a burden.”

a group of people posing for the camera: His loving and caring offspring have done him and Angie proud © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited His loving and caring offspring have done him and Angie proud The children, meanwhile, heap praise on Ian. Jade said: “He’s been so great and supportive. It’s because of him that I want to train as a social worker once I leave school. I want to make a difference to somebody’s life.”

Ella said: “He’s amazing and makes the best chicken curry!”

Ian is quick to return the compliments, saying: “I’m very fortunate. I have a bunch of hard-working, caring kids. I’m really proud. My children talk about Angie every day, what their Mam used to do, what she used to say.

“I can never replace Angie – I don’t want to – but I’m determined to do everything that I can to make her proud of our family. Luckily she has made it easier for me.”

Related: 20 Ways to Make Dad's First Father's Day Special (Provided by Momme)

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