Holding out my palm, I giggled as the horse gobbled up a sugar cube. Then my dad Chris, then 26, scooped me up and put me on the horse’s back.
It was 1998 and, aged 7, I loved nothing more than weekends with my daddy.
He’d split from my mum Paula, then 25, when I was 2.
But I adored every minute we spent together, playing video games, horse riding, watching films.
Dad taught me a lot. If I ever fell out with friends, he’d tell me not to get into fights.
‘Violence is never the answer,’ he said, telling me to walk away.
But, like all teens, I could be a handful.
In May 2009, when I was 17, Dad said he wanted me to apply to uni.
‘I’m too thick,’ I fumed, storming off. I thought he was trying to lecture me, and we fell out.
We’ll make up eventually, I thought.
But days later, on 31 May 2009, I was eating dinner when there was a knock at my front door.
It was two police officers. ‘Are you Christopher Folkes’ daughter?’ one asked. ‘What’s happened?’
I asked, panicked.
‘I’m sorry to inform you, your dad died in the early hours,’ the officer said.
The room began to spin as the police explained that Dad had been attacked in a park in Blackburn.
He’d died at Royal Blackburn Hospital just a few hours later.
I collapsed – my dad had always taught me to walk away from violence, and now he’d been violently murdered, at just 36 years old. It didn’t make sense. I was racked with guilt. The last time I’d spoken to Dad, we’d argued, and now he was gone.
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